Like psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy, the aim of psychodynamic therapy is to bring the unconscious mind into consciousness – helping individuals to unravel, experience and understand their true, deep-rooted feelings in order to resolve them. It takes the view that our unconscious holds onto painful feelings and memories, which are too difficult for the conscious mind to process. Often, psychodynamic therapy is shorter than psychoanalytic therapy with respect to the frequency and number of sessions, but this is not always the case.
Psychodynamic therapy will typically focus on recognizing, acknowledging, understanding, expressing, and overcoming negative and contradictory feelings and repressed emotions in order to improve the client’s interpersonal experiences and relationships. This includes helping the client understand how repressed earlier emotions affect current decision-making, behaviour and relationships. Psychodynamic therapy also aims to help those who are aware of and understand the origins of their social difficulties, but are not able to overcome their problems on their own. Clients learn to analyse and resolve their current issues and change their behaviour in current relationships through this deep exploration and analysis of earlier experiences and emotions.
The psychodynamic approach is designed to help individuals with a wide range of problems including anxiety, addiction, depression and eating disorders. It can be beneficial for those who have lost meaning in their lives or have difficulty forming or maintaining personal relationships. While suitable for everyone, it is often most appreciated by individuals with a capacity for self-reflection, and a natural curiosity for their internal life and their behaviours.