Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Anxiety, Anxiety-Treatment, Psychodynamic psychotherapy, Relationism, Psychodynamic theory, Relational theory, Theoretical


This theoretical study explores the phenomenon of anxiety and how it has been understood, articulated and treated over time in psychoanalysis. Formulations of anxiety in classical theory, object relations, attachment, interpersonal, relational and trauma theory will be explored, offering a counterpoint to the current medical model in which anxiety is primarily understood as a symptom to be eradicated through medication and "evidence based" treatments. The study argues that anxiety only exists within a relational and systemic context, and that reducing anxiety to a set of discrete disorders requiring prescriptive treatment protocols often overlooks the complexity of individual experience and need as well as discounting psychodynamic treatment options that are also effective. Finally the study will end with a composite case study that further illustrates the theories discussed, and that also demonstrates the functions and meanings of anxiety within a relational context.




iii, 90 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 86-90)

Limited Access until August 2019