What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

Psychodynamic therapy refers to a range of treatments based on theories and practice methods informed by psychoanalysis. However, it involves less frequent sessions (1-2 times a week) and typically (but not always) occurs over a shorter period of time. It is the oldest and most practiced form of psychotherapy, with over 100 years of clinical development of theories and practice. The main feature of this therapy is exploring aspects of one’s self that are not fully known or understood.

How does it work?

According to Shedler (2010), psychodynamic therapy works by focusing on 7 aspects of experience in an open ended, unstructured manner:

1. Focus on emotion and expression of emotion.
2. Exploration of attempts to avoid distressing thoughts and feelings.
3. Identification of recurring themes and patterns in one’s life.
4. Discussion of past experiences (developmental focus).
5. Focus on interpersonal relations.
6. Focus on therapy relationship.
7. Exploration of fantasy life and dreams.

Who can benefit?

Most emotional, relational, and developmental issues can be treated with psychodynamic therapy. It is ideal for anxiety, depression, psychological trauma, adjustment difficulties, and relational concerns; especially for those who are looking for what might be causing their difficulties.

More information:

Shedler, J. The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. American Psychologist. February-March 2010; 65(2):98–109.
https://psychodynamiccanada.org/
https://www.bpc.org.uk/about-psychotherapy/what-psychotherapy
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/therapy-types/psychodynamic-therapy

Therapists doing Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: Dylan Myllymaki

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