Psychodynamic therapy is an in-depth form of talking therapy that draws from the psychoanalytic theories and contemporary understandings of how human mind works. Psychodynamic therapy focusing on helping individuals achieve greater self-awareness through the exploration of internal processes that are experienced subconsciously.
More specifically, psychodynamic therapy operates under the core principle that conflict and distress is experienced subconsciously and can lead to emotional and behavioural difficulties on a conscious level. The conflict often relates to early experiences in parental relationships, where unhelpful patterns and messages about oneself and others might have been formed.
Psychodynamic therapy focuses on exploring past experiences and relationships aiming to help you increase internal awareness, evaluate unhelpful patterns and defences that developed over the years and to deal with distress that has been unconsciously impacting on present experiences, behaviours, and relationships.
For example, you might have developed defences to deal with specific stressful situations, such as avoiding your feelings. The avoidance of feelings might have worked for you at that specific time, but at present could be an outmoded way of dealing with you distress that leads to greater distress. Or you might re-enact problematic relationship dynamics that keep you stuck in unhappiness, such as choosing relationships that do not satisfy your emotional needs but recreate familiar dynamics linked to your early attachments.
In psychodynamic therapy, the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and the client becomes central to the psychodynamic therapeutic process as it can reveal the different ways an individual relates to other people outside of the therapy room. The therapist aims to develop a relationship with the client where the most painful, distressing experiences can be explored in a safe way. This unique relationship enables unhealthy ‘ways of being’ to emerge and to be challenged within the therapeutic relationship so that greater psychological flexibility and health is achieved.
Psychodynamic therapy varies from medium-term (4 months) to long-term. Often it is an open-ended process that ends when you feel you have gotten what you needed from the therapeutic process.
Dr Maria Pournara, Chartered Psychologist, has extensive experience in offering psychodynamic therapy online. If you would like to know more or schedule a session.