What Is Psychodynamic Therapy?

September 5

Psychodynamic therapy is a form of talk therapy designed to help an individual find relief from mental or emotional stress.

The goals of psychodynamic therapy are to increase a client’s self-awareness by understanding the influence of the past on one’s present behavior. In its brief form, a psychodynamic approach helps the client examine unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from past dysfunctional relationships. By exploring unconscious motives, needs, and defenses, one can understand the roots of emotional distress.

Psychodynamic therapists help clients find patterns in their emotions, thoughts, and beliefs in order to gain insight into their current self. These patterns are often found to begin in childhood as psychodynamic theory holds that early life experiences are extremely influential in psychological development and functioning as an adult. Through psychodynamic therapy, self-reflection and self-examination are promoted.

Though traditionally, psychodynamic therapy involved lying on a couch with your back to the therapist completing a process called free association, most modern psychotherapists utilize a combination of exploring childhood issues and developing ways to move past insight into action for change.

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