In contrast to behavioural therapy, dynamic psychotherapy, which facilitates a patient’s rewriting of his life narrative, his picture of himself, his past, present, and future, seems uniquely positioned to address the depth of a individual’s experience.” – Richard F. Summers
Psychodynamic therapy is a “global therapy”, or form of therapy with a focus on a holistic perspective of the client. The therapy explores the client’s deep-seated needs, urges, and desires (McLeod, 2014).
Psychodynamic therapy involves the interpretation of mental and emotional processes rather than focusing on behavior (Gad, 2017).
Psychodynamic therapists attempt to 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 the client’s childhood, since psychodynamic theory holds that early life experiences are extremely influential in psychological development and functioning as an adult (Gad, 2017).
Psychodynamic therapy aims to help the client identify important pieces of the puzzle that makes them who they are and rearrange them in ways that allow the client to form a more functional and positive sense of self.
“We see the central task of psychotherapy as the rewriting of a more complex and useful narrative of the patient’s life and experience.” – Richard F. Summers
Psychodynamic therapy sessions are dictated by the client’s free association rather than a set schedule or agenda. They are typically scheduled once a week and last about an hour. Current psychodynamic therapy is generally practiced in a less intensive manner than in the past (e.g. Freudian Psychoanalyses). Modern psychodynamic therapy also substitutes a pair of chairs for the stereotypical couch, and usually places the therapist and client face-to-face rather than keeping the therapist hidden from the client’s view.
In these sessions, the therapist will encourage the client to talk freely about whatever is on their conscious mind. The thoughts and feelings discussed will be probed for recurring patterns in the client’s unconscious mind.