What is Psychodynamic Therapy?

Psychodynamic and person-centred approaches focus on gaining understanding and insight about yourself and your past as the key to change. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy uses the assumption that everyone has an unconscious mind and that feelings held in the unconscious mind are often too painful to be faced. We consciously or unconsciously create defences to protect us knowing about these painful feelings. In Psychodynamic therapy we work with the unconscious processes as they are shown in the client’s present behaviour and the therapist will offer interpretations for the client to consider about what is happening.

The goals of psychodynamic therapy are self-awareness and understanding of the influence of the past on present behaviour. In its brief form, a psychodynamic approach enables the client to examine unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from early and past relationships – once you are aware of what is really going on in your mind the feelings will not be as painful.

How Long Does Psychodynamic Therapy Last?

The healing and change process in long-term psychodynamic therapy can require at least 2 years of sessions. This is because the goal of therapy is to change an aspect of one’s identity or personality or to integrate key developmental learning missed while the client was stuck at an earlier stage of emotional development.

As practitioners of brief psychodynamic therapy, which can be as few as 6 sessions up to 20 or so, we believe that some changes can happen more quickly and that an initial short intervention will kick-start an ongoing process of change that does not need the constant involvement of the therapist. For brief therapy to be effective there should be one major focus for the therapy identified in the assessment session.