What is psychodynamic therapy?
Psychodynamic psychotherapy draws on theories and practices of psychoanalysis. The therapy helps you find a way of resolving your problems by increasing your understanding of yourself, your emotions and your relationships.
Therapy involves exploring how your experiences and feelings in the past, in particular in your childhood and adolescence, have formed who you are and continue to have an influence over your feelings and relationships in your current life.
Psychodynamic therapists are trained to work with the ‘here-and-now’ emotions of the therapy relationship as it unfolds. This is a powerful tool to help you understand the sort of things that can get in the way of you achieving satisfying and emotionally meaningful relationships. The therapy aims for deep-seated emotional development and long-term change.
Who can psychodynamic psychotherapy help?
Research has shown that psychodynamic psychotherapy can help people with a wide variety of problems. For instance, you may find that you are often depressed, anxious or stressed. You may have difficulties in concentrating, dissatisfaction in work or inability to form satisfactory relationships. Or you may repeat destructive or self-destructive patterns of behaviour in your relationships. For example:
- Do you find yourself inadvertently sabotaging your relationships when they seem to be going well, or staying in unhealthy relationships because you fear being alone?
- Do you find it impossible to manage emotions such as anger or distress, so you often feel you push people away when you want to be close to them, or cling on even when you are unhappy?
- Do you have difficulty being assertive so you avoid conflict, or find you are the opposite and people think you are too aggressive?
- Do you find it hard to trust and you don’t know why or feel you trust too easily and then feel constantly hurt or let down by others?
- Do you tend to avoid people altogether because you have symptoms of acute shyness or social phobia, low mood and depression?
Many people who experience a loss of meaning in their lives, or who are seeking a greater sense of fulfilment in their lives and their relationships, have been helped by this form of therapy.
Whatever your particular issues, talking in a professional and confidential setting can help you to uncover what lies behind your difficult feelings or recurring patterns of behaviour and explore what it means to change and how to achieve this.
How long will therapy last?
How many sessions you need depends on the nature of your difficulties. Psychodynamic therapy may be brief, focusing on a specific issue in your life.
Or the therapy contract can be open-ended. This means that you and your therapist don’t set an end date when you start the work, instead you decide together with your therapist when you feel the time is right for you to end.
Therapy sessions are 50 minutes and are usually weekly.