Core Principles of Psychodynamic Therapy

The objective of psychodynamic therapy is to alter thoughts and conduct by making clients more aware of them. However, a different type of therapy has recently started to get scholarly attention regarding its efficacy in treating most mental health issues.

Psychodynamic therapy has been shown by scientific research to be just as successful as CBT. The technique, which has its origins from psychoanalysis, acknowledges that situations and relationships during a person’s early life play an important role in determining people’s character and lives as adults. It also recognizes that the way people behave is the outcome of rational or conscious intentions and that talking about issues helps people deal with challenges.

Defining the Concept | What Is Psychodynamic Therapy?

This is an option growing in popularity for patients diagnosed with various personality and mental health disorders. There is research showing that this kind of treatment is, in fact, as efficient as CBT.

In summary, psychodynamic therapy is a healing technique that emerged out of the psychoanalytic hypotheses and traditions popularized by Sigmund Freud. According to Freud, the unaware human mind is an important driver of conduct and feeling, and every form of conduct has an underlying cause.

The psychoanalytic theory also postulates a great effect if one’s childhood encounters his or her performance and thoughts as an adult. Although Freud’s postulations were vital in the formation of psychoanalysis as an approach to therapy, they have also laid an important foundation in forming the methodology applied in the psychodynamic therapy method.

Psychodynamic therapy examines the internal forces and drives that motivate people and how the factors impact how they interact with others and behave in society. In essence, this therapy procedure is meant to help patients improve their perception and consciousness of repressed and unresolved issues, longings, desires, wants, and needs.

The treatment can provide training for people to recognize those core beliefs and psychological patterns, most of which originate from experiences individuals go through as children. Once you have understood the forces that drive behavior or beliefs and thought processes, you can start developing more positive coping strategies.

Most therapists prefer psychodynamic therapy when it comes to treating clients struggling with depression. However, counseling has also been shown by research to be highly effective when it comes to treating various eating disorders, compulsions, and anxiety. The treatment duration varies between the short and long-term, depending on the issue to be addressed.

What Should Patients Expect From Psychodynamic Therapy?

Psychodynamic therapy tackles mental health treatment using a holistic approach, focusing on the client’s perspective. It is an alternative to problem-based approaches like CBT, which seeks to lower symptoms rather than address the underlying desires, wants and yearnings of the client.

When counselors use psychodynamic therapy, the objective is to support clients in finding those patterns in their judgements, feelings, and beliefs that can help them understand their current statuses. In most cases, the patterns have their origins in the client’s early years experiences. This is in line with the theory that supports a psychodynamic theory, which indicates that our childhood experiences shape our psychological development and how we think and function as adults.

In essence, the objective of appropriate psychodynamic treatment is to help the client recognize and identify those critical elements of their early encounters that make them and inform their behavior. Focus is then dedicated to helping the client reorganize those experiences to form a more constructive and purposeful sense of self. The counselor tasked with assisting the customer in working out those unconscious behaviors, thought processes, feelings, and unresolved problems that may be causing present challenges.

While psychodynamic treatment meetings may not be as controlled as in CBT, they are often just as efficient. The counseling employs an open-ended approach, basing its treatment on free association.

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Psychodynamic treatment also helps patients distinguish and address specific inbuilt defense processes that people use to evade distress. Also, expect your fantasy life to be explored as you work with the therapist towards recognizing the possible psychological significances you attach to issues.

Here are other things you should expect from psychodynamic therapy meetings:

Free Association

In more structured therapy options like cognitive behavioral therapy, therapists take a leading role during sessions. However, when it comes to psychodynamic therapy, the customer is advised to engage in free discussions about ideas, desires, thoughts, fears, dreams, needs, and fantasies. The belief is that this form of an organized approach to reporting facilitates access to moods and thoughts that may have remained inhibited otherwise.

The emotional states and thoughts that emerge during the unstructured sessions then become the counseling material. The freedom also allows clients to be honest about their sentiments and thoughts as they don’t fear being judged.

Therapeutic Transference

Psychodynamic therapy also focuses on interpersonal relationships with friends and loved ones. The way the individual relates to others often emerges in his or her engagement with the therapist, referred to as transference.

When the customer has experienced a feeling of dependency or hostility in other relationships, for instance, the same feeling may start to emerge during the counseling sessions. In other words, the therapeutic client-provider relationship can offer insights into the relations that the client has outside the therapy setting.

Dream Analysis

Another strategy that you may encounter in psychodynamic rehabilitation is dream analysis. In this context, the counselor will urge you to discuss your dreams. The discussion will be guided by a therapist who will ask questions and encourage a deeper description. The therapist will also help you differentiate between manifest and latent content and how they relate to your feeling.

Most clients find this form of treatment to be more friendly and comfortable compared to the more structured options. Psychodynamic therapy can take many forms, including;

  • Brief therapy;
  • Family counseling;
  • Art treatment.

Choosing a Competent Psychodynamic Therapist

In this article, we have explored the concept of psychodynamic therapy. The objective of this type of counseling is to help people understand the factors underlying their mental health. Although confirming the credentials of the professional is important in terms of how to choose a therapist, you also ought to choose a therapist you are comfortable around. Feel free to use databases to search for competent psychodynamic therapists.

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