Based on the pioneering work of Dr. Sigmund Freud, psychodynamic therapy is an effective tool therapists can use to help their clients explore and understand repressed or unconscious urges.
Those urges simmer beneath the surface of our day-to-day lives in the form of impulses, anxieties, and desires. As a result, our actions are often driven by desires we may not even fully understand or recognize.
When we keep those repressed desires bottled up without engaging them, pressure builds up inside us. As adults, our unprocessed emotions and childhood experiences can manifest themselves in a variety of unhealthy behaviors, including anxiety, irritability, and feelings of shame or self-loathing.
What is Psychodynamic Therapy?
In many ways, psychodynamic therapy is a more action-oriented, results-driven form of classical psychoanalytic therapy. Accordingly, psychodynamic therapy employs many of the same tools to help people get in touch with their repressed emotions and desires. You may have in your mind an image of someone lying back on a couch, brow furrowed, as they analyze their dreams with their therapist—that certainly is part of the process in some cases.
A cornerstone of psychodynamic therapy is establishing a judgment-free zone where clients can organize, explore, and reinterpret their experiences without feeling embarrassment or the need to censor themselves.
Think of psychodynamic therapy as a mirror that reveals the hidden history that drives you in your day-to-day life. Once that history is revealed, old wounds can be healed, and unhealthy patterns can be addressed.
How Does Psychodynamic Therapy Work?
There are several key tools used during psychodynamic therapy to help clients work through their unconscious thoughts and feelings.
- Dream Analysis – whereby client and therapist engage the dreams as a tool for understanding
- Free Association – used to help the client express themselves, and help the therapist identify patterns of thought and behavior
- Transference – a process in which past feelings and thoughts may be unconsciously transferred onto the therapist during discussion; when this happens, the therapist can use this phenomena to help clients resolve and understand past conflicts.
- Self-Reflection – clients are encouraged to journal, meditate, or otherwise take time each day to process their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
Features of Psychodynamic Therapy
As it is principally a form of talk therapy, psychodynamic therapy is non-invasive. It doesn’t require the use of medications, and can be done entirely remotely. While traditional psychoanalytic therapy can take years, and is often regarded as a lifelong endeavour, psychodynamic therapy is very much results-driven. As a result, clients can expect improvement in a much shorter period of time.
One of the other features of psychodynamic therapy is that because it is a process, it’s a tool clients can use if or when they encounter other issues later on in life.
Benefits of Psychodynamic Therapy
While many forms of therapy are beneficial, psychodynamic therapy aims to reconnect people with themselves. Improved insight into their own unconscious beliefs and thoughts can restore agency to their lives and regulate their behavior. During psychodynamic therapy, therapists are able to help their clients recognize and identify patterns that are driving their relationships. All too often in life, we find ourselves in the same loops, facing the same problems, without understanding why.
Psychodynamic therapy helps restore an individual’s ability to determine their own path consciously. With the safety of a judgment-free space to talk about their past, clients have the opportunity to heal from traumatic experiences.
Clients undergoing psychodynamic therapy can expect to see:
- Decreased Anxiety
- Better Relationships
- Emotional Regulation
- Improved Self-Esteem
- Personal Growth
Make an Appointment
If you’re interested in learning more about psychodynamic therapy, please reach out to schedule a consultation. I would love to work on your behalf as a guide and as you begin your journey inward. The path forward isn’t easy, but traveling it alongside my clients it is one of the most rewarding parts of my work.