What is Psychodynamic?

What is it?

Psychodynamic therapy is similar to psychoanalytic therapy in that they are bot in-depth forms of talking therapy. However, where psychoanalytic therapy has an emphasis on the client-therapist relationship, psychodynamic therapy places an emphasis on the client's relationship with their external world.


The psychodynamic approach allows the client to examine unresolved conflicts and dysfunctional relationships from the past that manifest in symptoms and conflicts in the present.


The main goal of psychodynamic therapy is to help the client to achieve self-awareness and to gain an understanding of the influence of their past on their present. By gaining this self-awareness and understanding, it is believed that the client will be able to work through historical traumas and past conflicts and resolve them in a way that lessens any negative symptoms that they are experiencing in the present.


Psychodynamic therapy derives from the same school of therapy as Freudian psychotherapy. Where the stereotyped idea of Freudian psychotherapy entails many years of daily psychoanalysis - and some psychodynamic therapists do work this way - there are many practitioners who deliver Brief Psychodynamic therapy. Brief Psychodynamic therapy requires the client and the therapist to agree on a singular focus point for their work together and from then the work can be quite intensely focused on this area.


Like with CBT, the number of practitioners who practice exclusively psychodynamic psychotherapy is reducing. Nowadays, there are less 'purists' and more therapists integrating various forms of psychotherapy into their work based on the client's needs.


What problems can it help with?

Some people start seeing a psychodynamic therapist with a specific issue in mind such as an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, obsessive behaviours and so on, whereas others go into psychodynamic therapy for more underlying and pervasive issues such as a general feeling that something is missing from life, a general sense of lethargy, sadness, or anxiety.


As mentioned above, generally psychodynamic therapy is considered to be a long-term or open-ended form of therapy, however there are instances in which it can be successful in the short-term. This may impact whether or not psychodynamic therapy is an appropriate treatment option for you. It may therefore be beneficial for you to have one or more preliminary consultations with a therapist in order to discuss such compatibility.


What is different about Psychodynamic psychotherapy?

The main basic assumption of psychodynamic psychotherapy is that all human behaviour is driven by unconscious motives. Another basic assumption is that our behaviour, thoughts, and feelings as adults is rooted in our experiences as children.


These basic assumptions might point towards the differences that you might see in a therapist who is trained in the psychodynamic approach. Such a therapist will focus heavily on your childhood experiences both within and outside of the family. The therapist will want to dig deeper into what you are saying, finding the, perhaps hidden, motivations and meanings behind what you are saying.


Where CBT focuses on the symptoms of the issue, psychodynamic therapy focuses on the root causes.


As always, if you would like to book an initial counselling session with me, please email me at amylaunder.counselling@gmail.com


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