What is Psychodynamic Therapy
Psychodynamic therapy aims to explain the origin of your personality. It explores how your feelings, behaviours, and preferences, from which it is suggested your personality is formed, are determined by unconscious instincts, drives and impulses of which you are unaware.
Psychodynamic therapy is a therapeutic process which helps you understand and resolve your psychological problems by increasing your awareness of your inner world and how it holds influence over your past and present relationships.
Psychodynamic therapy aims to address the foundation and formation of psychological processes in order to alleviate symptoms and improve people’s lives.
Is Psychodynamic Therapy Suitable for Me?
Whether psychodynamic therapy can help you will depend mainly on the quality of the relationship between you and your therapist. Clients who benefit most are usually those who want to understand themselves better and who have the motivation to commit to the process, even when it involves facing into painful emotions. At Midlands Counselling Clinic, we commonly integrate psychodynamic therapy with other therapies such as CBT, Positive Psychotherapy, Addiction Therapy and Family Therapy. We do this to support you determining the meaning you attach to events, people and relationships and to support you in affecting change.
Psychodynamic therapy can be an effective treatment for a range of different problems. Perhaps you are feeling:
- unable to cope or to resolve conflicts
- burdened by resentment, disappointment or despair
- that family problems are too much to bear
- that it is very difficult to deal with stress or recover from stressful situations
- lonely, empty, depressed or that you must deal with extreme mood change
- anxious, “panicky” or unable to concentrate
- curious or anxious about your sexuality
- concerned about drinking or eating problems
- that you have difficulties in making or keeping relationships, or that you repeatedly become involved in unsatisfying or destructive relationships
- that you must harm yourself to feel better
- that life is not worth living or that there is little hope for change
- that you struggle with physical problems which are not easily explained or don’t fit into a diagnosis.
If you are relying on alcohol or other substances to help you to deal with your mood difficulties or with general life, then you will need to think about minimising or stopping your alcohol/substance use completely to benefit from psychotherapy.
What Does Psychodynamic Therapy Entail?
Psychodynamic therapy is a personal process and what happens in your own therapy will be unique to you. Each session lasts for 55 minutes. You will meet your therapist at the same time and in the same place on a weekly basis. The number of therapy sessions people receive varies. If the difficulties you have been struggling with are long standing, then you may attend sessions over many months.
During the sessions, you will be encouraged to talk as freely as you can and to explore your feelings, experiences, memories, dreams, anxieties, fantasies and wishes. Your therapist will help you review emotions, thoughts, early-life experiences, and beliefs to gain insight into your life and your present-day problems and to evaluate the patterns you have developed over time. Recognising recurring patterns will help you to see and change the ways in which you avoid distress or develop defence mechanisms to protect yourself from feeling unpleasant emotions such as shame, anger and guilt. Your therapist will listen carefully to what you say and how you say it and will at times feedback her/his understanding to you. S/he is likely to pay attention to the relationship that grows up between the two of you, as this can help you learn something about your past and present relationships.
How Can I Benefit from Psychodynamic Therapy?
Research shows the benefits of psychodynamic therapy not only endure after therapy ends, but increase with time. This suggests that insights gained during psychodynamic therapy may resource you with psychological skills that grow stronger with use. Although the benefits may vary from person to person they include:
- Increasing your self esteem
- Developing your ability to have more satisfying relationships
- Increasing your confidence in personal abilities
- Increasing your understanding of self and others
- Recognition and toleration of a wider range of your emotions
- Gradually becoming more able to face your issues and difficulties
Are There Limitations to Psychodynamic Therapy?
Psychodynamic therapy tends to take more time than CBT, thus making it a potentially expensive therapy over the longer term. Some clients find psychodynamic therapy uncomfortable as they find it difficult to accept that factors outside their awareness influence their thoughts and behaviours. Clients can be reluctant to talk about their childhood experiences, or their relationship with their parents or original caregivers. However, trust is an important part of the relationship between you and your therapist. As trust builds up between you and your therapist, you are likely to reveal more about yourself and thus – discover more.