Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy is a therapeutic approach that aims to help patients discover and process their feelings. The theory is based on the premise that all people have an unconscious, which may contain thoughts and feelings that are too difficult or painful to face in our conscious. Psychodynamic theory posits that change occurs when one gains insight into “hidden” thoughts and feelings by pulling them from the unconscious into the conscious. Insight is believed to lead to self-understanding, which in turn motivates people to change. Though such change, patients can begin to see improvements in their emotional distress, relationships, and behaviors.

During treatment, patients may be assisted in exploring and discussing their emotions, attempts to avoid negative thoughts and feelings, recurring patterns in their lives, past experiences, as well as their hopes, dreams, and fears. Psychodynamic theory focuses on an individual’s experiences in relationships in order to better understand how such relationships impact their self-concept. The therapeutic relationship in itself may help shed light on the patient’s interpersonal experiences (Shedler, 2010).

Psychodynamic therapy has been found to be effective for a wide range of mental health issues including but not limited to anxiety, depression, panic and stress-related issues, as well as the physical ailments that may arise from such distress. Research published by the American Psychological Association reveals that psychodynamic therapy not only helps to alleviate symptoms, but may also help patients develop “inner resources” that they can utilize through their lives (Shedler, 2010).

Shedler, Jonathan (2010). The efficacy of psychodynamic psychotherapy. American Psychologist, 65(2), 98-10