What is Psychodynamic Therapy?
Originating in the work of Sigmund Freud, the Psychodynamic approach emphasises unconscious psychological processes (for example, wishes and fears of which we’re not fully aware), and suggests that childhood experiences are crucial in shaping adult personality. They also believed that we are compelled to repeat patterns of behaviour as a consequence of our early relationships, particularly those with our significant care givers.
In psychodynamic therapy, the client is encouraged to reflect on their past, and to wonder how their present view of the world has been shaped by these experiences. The counsellor will also be watchful for how the client interacts with them, watching the ‘dynamics’ of the relationship unfold. Client and counsellor work together to encourage the unconscious to become conscious, thus creating the opportunity for conscious choice and change.
This type of therapy is recommended for anyone wanting to explore and gain further understanding of themselves. It can be particularly effective for people who have tried shorter-term therapies, and found they wanted something ‘deeper’. Clients who find themselves in repeated patterns of relationships – or repeatedly making the same mistakes – may find psychodynamic therapy useful in understanding the unconscious choices that keep bringing them back to the same point.
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