Psychodynamic therapy helps people understand why they behave the way they do. Also known as insight-oriented therapy, the approach can help patients become more self-aware.
Instead of going from crisis to crisis, insight helps people to make better decisions to improve their circumstances. This therapeutic approach helps people understand how past events have impacted their present-day functioning.
History of this Approach
Psychodynamic therapy has its roots in Freudian psychology. The approach is similar in many ways to psychoanalytic therapy, which is also talk-based. However, psychodynamic therapy is different from psychoanalysis in that the patient-therapist relationship takes a back seat.
In psychodynamic therapy, patients focus on their relationships and functioning in the outside world. Typically, sessions in the psychodynamic approach are less frequent than they are in the psychoanalytical approach.
Psychodynamic therapy is designed to help people move past an early stage of development where they may feel stuck. In this approach, therapists encourage patients to take the lead and speak about what’s on their mind. Topics may include fears, fantasies, current relationship issues and dreams.
The goal is to see an improvement in symptoms as well as a boost in self-esteem. Therapy is also often targeted at helping people develop better relationships. Some patients experience relief in less than one year of starting psychodynamic therapy. Others have a much longer therapeutic journey.
What Conditions Does Psychodynamic Therapy Treat?
Psychodynamic therapy is useful in treating a number of mental health issues. It’s often used for conditions in which a pattern of behavior is disrupting an individual’s life. These conditions can include depression, eating disorders, addiction and social anxiety disorder.
Psychodynamic therapy is designed to help people gain insight into why they do the things they do. By looking back, the theory helps people identify patterns and triggers in their lives. The increased self-awareness provided by this approach helps people to resolve their issues and make better decisions in the present.
Many professionals use the psychodynamic approach, including social workers, psychologists and licensed marriage and family therapists. Patients should take care to find an appropriately licensed mental health professional. Long-term psychodynamic therapy lasts for up to two years on average, but the length of treatment is dependent on the needs of each patient.
Psychodynamic therapy can help if you are having problems functioning in day to day life, so be sure to ask for help if you need it.