n African Journal of Psychiatry - Dynamic psychiatry and the psychodynamic formulation : review

Volume 14, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1994-8220



This article aims to describe the difference between descriptive and dynamic psychiatry. As part of the latter every psychiatrist should be able to construct a psychodynamic formulation. A psychodynamic formulation, an indication of psychological mindedness, helps the psychiatrist to recognize the unique, personal aspects of the illness and the life of the patient. The formulation furthermore helps with the initial orientation towards the patient: it anticipates and predicts how the patient might interact with the psychiatrist and how defenses and underlying conflicts will manifest themselves in treatment. The formulation can therefore be very useful in the treatment of any patient, since it can help to understand and manage the patient's attitude towards being prescribed medication, as well as compliance and prognosis and serve as an initial guide in the psychotherapy. The psychodynamic formulation is unfortunately seldom incorporated in the psychiatric presentation of patients; guidelines are therefore given to especially help psychiatric trainees with the construction of such a formulation.

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