Anecdotal Evidence for the Psychodynamic Model


I once failed a very important school exam, which caused me to have to redo an entire school year. In the summer after that exam, I felt really bad about that situation. About 2 months after taking that exam, I suddenly started getting panic attacks.

In the beginning the panic attacks weren’t frequent, but in the following weeks they became more and more recurrent. After 4 weeks of this, I became very desperate, feeling I could not take that whole panic nightmare anymore.

At that time I was visiting a friend of mine one evening. I remember lying on his couch while I was thinking about my panic attacks and trying to figure out what was causing them. At a certain point my friend started talking to me and I remember shutting him up and telling him that I was pondering something. I didn’t want him to distract me while I was deeply asking myself what the cause of my panic troubles was.

Then, all of a sudden, I had the following experience. It was like an inner eye momentarily opened, like a frog’s eyelid that opens for a second and then closes again. In that moment I had a spontaneous regression to a moment in which I was in the exam hall, doing that important exam. I relived that moment in a very vivid way. I BECAME that memory.

In that moment, I saw how I was looking at the clock, running out of time, and thinking how I was failing my test and that it meant that I might have to do an entire year over again and how my world was falling apart because of that.

After that moment of regression, I felt my emotional life rushing back into me. I felt a zest for life again, like wanting to go out on the town and have some fun. After that experience, the panic attacks did not recur again.

Later in my life I studied psychology at university. There I learned about the psychodynamic model, with its notions of unconscious mental forces and repression of painful experiences. That sounded true to me in the light of my earlier panic experiences, despite the fact that this model was presented as being outdated.

A lesson that I took away from my regression experience is that a healthy mind has no ‘blockades,’ which means: savoring life, each in their own way, of course. Because when my blockade was lifted, I could feel that enjoying life is the natural way.