Trichotillomania - a psychotherapeutic understanding of the symptoms

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Glynn, Claire
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Higher Diploma in Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this thesis is to explore Trichotillomania (TTM), its aetiology and treatment from a psychotherapeutic perspective. A broad overview explaining Trichotillomania is provided, the various symptoms of TTM are described and a selected review of literature to date is completed to understand possible origins of the symptoms. Psychoanalytic interpretations are explored, with a focus being on recognition of the symbolic meaning of the symptom, as TTM is primarily psychogenic in nature (Barahal, 1940). The scope in this area has been limited to classical Freudian analysis. Behavioural and cognitive theorists are also explored. Treatments available are considered in light of the modalities reviewed and symptom elimination. More focus is given to the cognitive behaviour treatments, which appear to have more documented evidence on efficacy. It is apparent that the aetiology of TTM has not been clearly defined nor is it based on verifiable, observable data, without which it will be difficult to devise more effective treatments and achieve a greater understanding of the psychopathology of TTM and its symptoms (Walther et al. 2010, p. 54). Author Keywords: Trichotillomania - Symtom understanding, aetiology, psychoanalysis, CBT