This is a therapy that is based on psychoanalytic ideas and methods and focuses on exploring aspects of the self that are not fully known to the individual, especially as they manifest in the therapeutic relationship. Broadly speaking, psychodynamic psychotherapy involves exploration of emotions and other aspects of experience (wishes, dreams, fantasies), and the ways in which one tends to avoid distressing thoughts and feelings. Identification of recurring themes and patterns from the past are also discussed as they are thought to contribute to psychological difficulties at present. The focus is on a person’s interpersonal relationships including the therapeutic relationship that serves to help us understand repetitive themes in a person’s relationships outside the therapy setting. A main goal is to rework these interpersonal themes to achieve greater relational flexibility and capacity to meet interpersonal needs.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy has been found to be effective for different types of psychological problems, including rigid and enduring patterns of experience and behaviour, with clients maintaining therapeutic gains and continuing to improve over time.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a fundamental therapeutic modality for psychologists in the UK. My training in this therapy includes theoretical and clinical seminars, and clinical work experience in a psychotherapy service within the National Health System (NHS) with weekly supervision. This is different from the full psychoanalytic training at a psychoanalytic council or institute, as it involves training in a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches.