What is Psychodynamic Therapy?
Psychodynamic therapy is also known as talk therapy. It’s believed that through talking, a person can learn to develop the necessary skills to help them address their problems. Its purpose is to help the client better understand and identify unconscious or unseen motivations behind their feelings and behaviors. Psychodynamic therapy can be used in conjunction with other therapeutic modalities, such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, motivational interviewing, and brainspotting. Much of this will be determined by the therapist and client.
Psychodynamic therapy may help the client work on better understanding their beliefs, feelings, and childhood experiences. It can be applied to individual, couples, family, and group therapy. The goal is to help the client recognize self-defeating patterns while exploring a new possible reality, one that’s not connected to their future.
Much of what will be discovered is that for years, thoughts and feelings have been avoided. Becoming conscious of life patterns, thought processes, and belief systems can really help a person re-write their story.
How does it work?
The therapist helps the client better understand their unconscious feelings, thoughts, and past history by exploring their problems and past childhood experiences. It’s believed that people are often motivated by unconscious thoughts. Likewise, adult personality and relationships are often the results of one’s childhood experience.
One of the key components to psychodynamic therapy is the therapeutic relationship. The client can explore how their early-life relationships may have created certain relationship patterns and just how these patterns have influenced their current interactions with people.
In summary, the client learns to better understand themselves and make better decisions. It’s a good approach for those being treated for depression, anxiety, and relationship issues. It helps the client find their purpose in life and teach them how to maintain personal relationships.
Who can it help?
Psychodynamic therapy works well for the following conditions: depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, chronic pain, and borderline personality disorder. In addition, it helps the client break self-defeating cycles by strengthening their self-understanding, helps them better understand their relationship dynamics, and helps them address the main thoughts and feelings they may be avoiding.
Clients gain insight into their lives and present-day problems by evaluating these factors of their life: emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and early-life experiences with the end goal to change negative patterns and belief systems. When we recognize these recurring patterns, we also begin to see how we avoid distress or develop defense mechanisms to cope.
Psychodynamic therapy can be used as short-term or long-term therapy depending on the client’s needs and goals. But once a client becomes vulnerable and unconscious painful feelings are processed, the client will no longer have to use certain defense mechanisms and they will feel more in control.