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Changing psychodynamics? – Patterns of symptoms and their interpretations after the political change in Germany

Background: Patients and psychotherapists are no isolated individuals. The dynamic field in the consulting room also interacts with its environment. It is influenced by social, cultural, and economic transformations. One major societal transformation in recent years was the political change in Eastern Europe, for example in Eastern Germany.

In Germany, psychotherapy is usually free of charge for the patients, it is paid by the health insurance after patients apply for it, accompanied by a written report from the therapist (this report does not contain person-identifying data). These reports offer the possibility to investigate the potential association of societal change with changes in psychotherapeutic concepts and practice.

Aims: With this study, we will examine how the societal change in Eastern Germany in the last 20 years might have impacted psychotherapeutic concepts and clinical practice.

Methods: Out of 40,000 reports from 2001 to 2017, we took a random sample of 500 reports. We  perform an in-depth text analysis, combined with a quantitative data analysis (mixed method approach), to identify patterns of symptoms and psychodynamics described in these reports and examine potential changes over time.

Funding: International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA)

In collaboration with the Mainz Psychoanalytic Institute (mpi)