What is Psychodynamic Therapy?
Psychodynamic therapy focuses on helping clients gain awareness about unconscious processes. Specifically, how feelings, impulses, and defense mechanisms may be influencing their present behaviours. It focuses on understanding how early experiences affect how we feel and relate to others today. By speaking about the past, people can become more aware of why they do the things they do now, and giving them a better chance to shape their present.
Psychodynamic therapy tends to focus a lot on process, such as how people relate to one another. A psychodynamic therapist may want to help you to explore feelings or topics that you seem to be avoiding, or to discuss aspects of your relationship. The interpersonal dynamics that show up in therapy is often similar to those outside of the therapy room. By discussing the dynamics that show up in therapy, clients can come to better understand how they interact with others, and how these interpersonal dynamics can improve, so that relationships become more fulfilling.
You do not need to lie on a couch to undergo psychodynamic therapy. Nor do you need to attend sessions multiple times a week. Current psychodynamic therapy tends to focus on understanding how the past influences the present. This means that present life goals are central to the work. Psychodynamic therapy helps people to understand “why” they do certain things. However, it can also involve discussing how someone would like to be in the future. By recognizing familiar patterns we can learn to break free of them. We can also learn to develop new ways of interacting with others, ourselves, and the world.