Insight-oriented psychotherapy is based on the concepts of psychoanalytic theory developed by Sigmund Freud, but uses slightly different techniques and timeframes. It is also known as expressive therapy and intensive psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
Insight is the term used to describe a person's understanding of his/her psychological function and personality. Treatment within an insight-oriented psychotherapy framework involves the therapist assisting patients to gain new or improved understanding and insight into the possible explanations for their feelings, responses, behaviors, and current relationships with other people.
It also places some emphasis on the patient developing insight into his/her responses to the therapist, as well as those that occurred with important individuals during the patient's childhood.
How does it work?
The expectation is that through the process of insight-oriented psychotherapy, the insights gained by patients with the assistance of therapists will allow them to understand the possible sources of their problems and also allow them to resolve some of the feelings they have, allowing better control over distressing emotions or behaviors.
Who does it?
This form of psychotherapy is practiced by many psychotherapists. Some will have completed formal courses in psychoanalytic or insight-oriented psychotherapy, and others will use some of the techniques of insight-oriented psychotherapy combined with elements of other theories. This is called an eclectic or mixed technique of psychotherapy and is very common.
How does it help?
Insight-oriented psychotherapy can probably be used alone in treating some forms of depression, but is usually used in conjunction with medication in the more severe forms. It would be unlikely to be the only treatment used with a person with major depression with psychotic features.
The insight-oriented psychotherapeutic approach to treating depression may be particularly useful when the depressed person has had longstanding problems with low self-esteem, self-confidence and relationships with others people. It is probably best used with people who have a strong motivation and desire to understand the causes of their problems, have the ability to reflect on the comments of their therapist, are willing and able to participate in the process of therapy, and are able to think in symbolic terms. It is probably less suited for very emotionally fragile people, those who have little ability to observe themselves, those who have limited intelligence and those who are in a severe life crisis.