Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is a type of talking therapy that is often used in the treatment of many different mental health conditions.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is just one of a huge range of different types of talking therapy. If you are considering attending Psychodynamic Psychotherapy sessions, it is worth reviewing some of the key areas of this type of therapy, which we explore in this article.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is a very common type of talking therapy

What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is a talking therapy that is closely related to Psychoanalytical psychotherapy, though combines more areas into the therapy process. This talking therapy aims to bring to light thoughts and memories in the unconscious mind. It works on the idea that past trauma is pushed to the back of the mind, with the conscious mind neglecting to process them. This may cause long-term problems though, when a person develops defence mechanisms to cope with the issues. This tends to be a shorter-term therapy than others.

1. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy involves the unconscious mind

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy works on the idea that certain past experiences have become buried in the unconscious mind – which is the part of the mind that we are not aware of.

The idea is that these experiences continue to affect the thinking, thoughts and behaviour in the modern day for the patient – as they were never processed healthily.

2. Some have criticised Freud’s theory

The overarching theory behind Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is something called psychoanalysis – which is the brainchild of psychologist Sigmund Freud.

Freud’s theory continues to heavily impact psychology even in the modern-day. However, his theory of psychoanalysis has garnered criticism due to a supposed lack of focus on individual circumstances – instead lumping together conditions and individuals.

3. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is a short-term therapy

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is designed to be a short-term form of therapy, compared to other types of therapy – such as psychoanalytical psychotherapy, which is designed with a long-term approach.

The typical course of treatment for Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is 8-16 sessions. Psychoanalytical psychotherapy tends to follow a much longer process.

4. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy treats a lot of conditions

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy can treat many different mental health conditions. It appears to be most effective when unresolved trauma exists.

Depression, Anxiety, Eating disorders, Somatic disorders and trauma-related conditions like Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are all commonly treated by Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.

5. The typical therapy session involves free thought

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is unstructured in nature. Unlike most therapies, the therapist will not take the lead in sessions. Instead, the patient wil.

The patient will be encouraged to talk about whatever is going through their mind at the time. The therapist will look for patterns in thoughts and feelings. They will then try and identify any common themes, and find out if any experiences continue to have an effect on them.

Most people who engage in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy see some benefits

6. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy does involve past trauma

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy does involve talking about past traumas – some of which may have actually been forgotten.

Therefore, it can be a difficult therapy to partake in, and many people find that it brings up powerful emotions that can end up having a negative impact on their life.

7. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy helps in the long-term

As part of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, the therapist will help the patient in the long-term. A big part of this will be due to processing past events.

Once a person has come to terms with events in the past, they should find their mind is much clearer, and that they feel a weight off of their shoulders. Their future will hopefully seem brighter.

8. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is effective for most people

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy has the potential to be a very effective talking therapy. Many people will find that Psychodynamic Psychotherapy provides them with the help they need to see an improvement in their overall wellbeing.

The evidence generally suggests that Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is effective, especially in cases of Depression [1]. Some people though will not find any benefit from this form of therapy – everyone reacts differently.

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[1]      Leichsenring, F (2005) Are psychodynamic and psychoanalytic therapies effective? A review of empirical data, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 86 (3), p841-868.