Why Good People Do Bad Things, and the Search for the Holy Grail of Psychotherapy with Dr. Jonathan Shedler

In life we often keep repeating the same patterns, even if they are not beneficial to us. And even if we become aware of this, we likely may still not understand ourselves. That’s because we don’t fully know our hearts and minds. In fact, most of what is inside of our mind is hidden from us. There is, however, a proven way to illuminate these parts of ourselves, with the help of psychodynamic therapy.

And our guest today, Dr. Jonathan Shedler, is an expert on the human condition. He is a psychologist, master clinician and Clinical Professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He is internationally known as an author, researcher and clinical educator. 

His 2010 article The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy was applauded for establishing psychodynamic therapy as an evidence-based treatment. Jonathan is the co-creator of the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure (SWAP), a clinician completed psychological test for personality assessment and clinical case formulation and he is the co-author of the Personality Syndromes section of the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM-2).

Jonathan is a leading voice of upholding the psychoanalytic tradition of psychotherapy and has been on a mission to clear up the misconceptions about psychodynamic thinking that are pervasive in psychiatry and psychology.

In this episode with Jonathan, you’ll discover:

-How political and financial interests have affected psychotherapy for the worse…02:45

-How Jonathan has built notoriety by advocating for psychodynamic therapy…09:45

-Reasonable expectations in achieving meaningful results from psychotherapy…16:25

-How psychodynamic therapy differs from “traditional” psychotherapy…24:45

-Generational trauma from the past affects our mental wellness in the present…36:40

-The true goal of therapy is to understand what not to act on…48:12

-Why we do awful things, without being aware of the effects of our actions…53:00

-About the “PsychScan” Jonathan has created…59:50

-Jonathan’s best personal practices…1:04:15

Resources mentioned:

Jonathan’s website

Shedler Westen Assessment Procedure (SWAP)

The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy


Jonathan’s Twitter