Psychodynamic psychotherapy is an in-depth analytic therapy derived from psychoanalysis. It focuses on the unconscious, and on past experiences, in order to understand how the unconscious and the past is impacting on current behaviours and moods in a negative or problematic way.
In the sessions clients are encouraged to talk about their thoughts and feelings about past relationships, primarily with their caregivers and other people who have been important in their lives. The aim is to bring to the surface the unconscious meanings and fantasies about those relationships, and how the client has made sense of them in relation to their own sense of who they are. By doing so, we hope to understand and change what is problematic about those meanings, beliefs and behaviours, and enable the client to strengthen their sense of self, and to begin to live more in the here and now, without the influence of past experiences.
This kind of therapy can be longer term, or it can be solution focused, and it relies more on the interpersonal relationship between client and therapist in the room. At the same time, the therapist keeps their own self largely unknown, so that the unconscious relationship dynamics which the client is holding can be projected on to the person of the therapist; this can then be examined and worked with, in in order to explore the problematic beliefs lying in the client’s internal world.