Psychodynamic therapy (A complete guide)

Psychodynamic therapy, also known as insight-oriented treatment emphasizes unconscious notions as they present in an individual’s current behavior.

The therapy considers the client’s own consciousness and understanding of the effect of the past on current behavior.

In its short-term form, a psychodynamic method allows the client to inspect unsettled conflicts and indications that rise from past relationships and as they manifest in the wishes and desires to abuse matters.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy has been adapted to briefer treatment models to address specific presenting concerns. Research has supported the effectiveness of these methods.

What is psychodynamic therapy?

With origins in Freud’s psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy has expanded beyond the specific techniques used in the analysis to include a multi-dimensional approach to human development and relationships.

Psychodynamic therapy now encompasses traditional psychoanalysis, self psychology, ego psychology, object relations, etc, with focal points on the client’s intrapsychic world as well as interpersonal styles. 

Role of Psychodynamics Therapy

The role of the therapist in psychodynamic therapy is to create a safe space that invites the client to explore his or her feelings and identify what parts of them are familiar.

Together the client and therapist navigate the recurrent themes and patterns in the client’s reactions, impressions, and enactments, as well as the dynamics that arise between the client and therapist.

The theory maintains that the client’s relational style with the therapist represents how the client is in other relationships, and likely resembles the relationship the client experienced with his or her father or mother.

As the theory assumes these formative relationships shape the client’s relational frameworks throughout the lifetime, the therapy revisits them as they pertain to various contexts.

Types of Psychodynamic Therapy

Through this piece, researchers have mentioned psychodynamic therapy as a singular entity to make the conversation of psychodynamic treatments calmer; but honestly speaking, psychodynamic treatment is more a group of healings rather than a single kind.

All of the treatments below are based in the same overarching model of psychodynamic model, but they put on the tenets of this philosophy in different ways.

Following are the three types of Psychodynamic therapy.

1. Brief Psychodynamic Therapy

The feature of short-lived psychodynamic therapy that sets it separately from other types of psychodynamic therapies is exact in the name.

This kind of treatment is usually led over the sequence of only a few sessions, or even just one meeting in some cases.

Occasionally a person struggling with an exact problem only wants to make a few significant meetings to overcome that problem.

For example, if a person is suffering from severe nervousness with no recognised source, the identification of an occasion or condition that gave increase to this nervousness and a plan for coping can be accomplished in one session.

While the determination of troubles should not be expected in one session for all those seeking treatment, there are numerous examples where classifying and dealing with a precise problem can be a comparatively short-lived investment.

Brief psychodynamic treatment has been applied to circumstances include:

  • forcible violation
  • Accidents in traffic, or some kind of physical injury etc.
  • Act of violence
  • Severe psychological disturbances like nervousness or unhappiness
  • Shocking family events such as discovery of a secret, divorce, etc.

 2. Psychodynamic Family Therapy

This kind of psychodynamic therapy is adept in the background of a family, whether that family is included of two adults in an idealistic relationship, a parent and children, brothers, grandparents and grandchildren, an old-style nuclear family, or any mixture of these family members.

Psychodynamic family therapy can help family members to notice and address the deep seeded subjects that give rise to family troubles, leading to a good and happier family dynamic.

This therapy is typically comparatively long-term against the shorter term family therapy founded on CBT or IPT and frequently is prompted by chronic issues in the family rather than an important occasion or the emergence of a specific problem in the family.

Frequently, this procedure of therapy highlights the position of the adult members of the family working out any battles with their own selves as a way to healthier comprehend the struggles with their partners and children.

3. Psychodynamic Art

This therapy is also known as music therapy. This non-traditional procedure of psychodynamic therapy includes the release of feelings and reactions with the help of art or music.

Like other kinds of psychodynamic therapy, this treatment is non-directive and non-structured, allowing the patient to lead the session.

It does not need any creative or musical talent or aptitude, only that consumers are able to use music or sculpture to express themselves.

Clients may showcase exact bits and talk about the feelings they suggest, attach them to events from childhood, or deliberate the sense they find in these pieces.

Or, customers might bring in an exact song or album that they feel they can narrate to on a deep level.

Otherwise, clients can really create art or music in the assembly.

It doesn’t have to be good art or music; it only wants to carry the thoughts or spirits of the clients in a way that makes logic to them.

Psychodynamic Therapy for Depression

Psychodynamic therapy is the sort of talk therapy numerous people envision when they consider mental treatment for depression.

That is on the grounds that the picture of the therapist and patient are a staple of our mainstream society.

It tends to be found on sitcoms or in-jokes.

What’s more, psychodynamic therapy has been a significant component in motion pictures like Good Will Hunting and Ordinary People and in plays like Equus.

Psychodynamic therapy is intended to assist patients with investigating the full scope of their feelings, including feelings they may not know about.

By making the unconscious components of their life a piece of their current experience, psychodynamic therapy assists people with seeing how their conduct and state of mind are influenced by uncertain issues and oblivious feelings.

What Distinguishes Psychodynamic Therapy From Other Therapies for Depression?

Psychodynamic therapy is one of the three primary kinds of therapy used to treat depression.

The other two are intellectual social therapy (CBT) and relational therapy (IPT). What recognizes them is the idea of their core interest.

Both CBT and IPT are centered around comprehension and changing certain procedures or practices.

For CBT, the emphasis is on how an individual thinks.

Musings shape what an individual does and how an individual feels and responds; CBT centers around recognizing and changing broken examples of thought.

With IPT the focus is on recognizing issues and issues in relational connections and learning approaches to address and improve them.

Both CBT and IPT are additionally time-restricted, transient treatments.

The accentuation is on learning new examples as opposed to breaking down why the broken examples are there.

Psychodynamic therapy, then again, emerged out of the speculations and practices of Freudian psychoanalysis.

Psychoanalysis depends on the possibility that an individual’s conduct is influenced by the unconscious brain and by past encounters.

Psychoanalysis includes an extraordinary, open-ended investigation of a patient’s feelings, regularly with numerous sessions every seven days.

The sessions incorporate an assessment of the feelings the patient knows about and those the patient is unconscious before therapy starts.

Psychodynamic therapy is less extraordinary than formal psychoanalysis. Sessions, for the most part, happen once per week and are regularly 50 minutes each.

Patients, as a rule, sit up in a seat instead of lying on a sofa with the specialist far out.

Yet, not at all like IPT and CBT, the two of which have sessions that cling to a formal, delineated structure and that set explicit learning motivation, psychodynamic therapy sessions are open-finished and dependent on a procedure of free affiliation.

Psychodynamic Therapy Tools

Psychodynamic therapy trusts less on exercises and doings than most other kinds of therapy, but there are some very significant tools in the psychodynamic toolbox that permit the psychoanalyst to investigate deep into the deeper mind with their patient.

Following are the tools and methods which are common practice for many sorts of psychodynamic therapy.

1.     Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual often called DSM, is frequently denoted as the clinical psychologist’s Bible.

The DSM helps as a reference book for consideration and assessing behaviour within a psychological background.

Psychodynamic analysts and philosophers occasionally analyze the DSM’s focus on noticeable warning signs and blunder of more subjective involvements as standards for diagnosis.

2.     Rorschach Inkblots

While these vague and messy marks of ink are carefully linked to Freudian therapy, they are also used in some procedures of psychodynamic therapy nowadays.

The Rorschach Inkblot examination appears to be a chiefly misinterpreted tool in the over-all populace.

Pop culture has made the examination out to be either an end-all, be-all test of a person’s character, exclusive thinking, and forecaster of all manner of cerebral health illnesses, or a useless workout in naming unnameable forms. In detail, the Rorschach test is neither of these things.

It cannot illuminate your whole life history, but it is important to note that it still has some values.

3.     Dream Analysis

Another type of Freudian therapy, this extremely personal technique can prove valuable for some, though its effectiveness as an action technique is not proven via the technical technique.

Though, the efficiency of treatment cannot always be leisurely and organized by double-blind random control trials (RCTs), the gold standard of investigation.

Occasionally it is greatly difficult to determine which mechanisms or styles of therapy brought about success in treatment.

4.     Free Association

Free association may be the single most vital and greatest used tool for psychodynamic psychoanalysts.

This method is common and frequently used. In the background of psychodynamic treatment, there are two senses devoted to free association.

The more authorized treatment method of free association, and the overall method of in-session conversation driven by the client’s free association amid themes.

The more official method includes the psychoanalyst interpretation a list of words and the client replying directly with the first word that originates to mind.

This exercise can shed light on some of the relations and influences the client has hidden deep underneath the surface.

This method may not be as valuable to a consumer who is resilient to the exercise or to sharing close details with the psychoanalyst.

Though psychoanalysts must not assume that a client who pauses before replying is resistant, it may designate that the client is getting nearer to a suppressed or highly important connection.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about psychodynamic therapy:

What is psychodynamic therapy used for?

Psychodynamic therapy is primarily used to treat depression and other serious psychological disorders, especially in those who have lost meaning in their lives and have difficulty forming or maintaining personal relationships.

What is an example of a behavior that would benefit from the use of psychodynamic therapy?

Some examples of behaviors and their explanations using psychodynamic perspective include: Obsessive hand washing could be linked to a trauma in childhood that now causes this behavior.

Nail-biting may be caused by an anxiety inducing childhood event.

Is psychodynamic therapy effective?

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is effective for a wide range of mental health symptoms, including depression, anxiety, panic and stress-related physical ailments, and the benefits of the therapy grow after treatment has ended, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

What can I expect from psychodynamic therapy?

In psychodynamic therapy, the patient is encouraged to talk freely about whatever happens to be on his or her mind.

As the patient does this, patterns of behavior and feelings that stem from past experiences and unrecognized feelings become apparent

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Clinical Manual, Deborah L. Cabaniss

Practicing Psychodynamic Therapy: A Casebook, Richard F. Summers

Psychodynamic Therapy: A Guide to Evidence-Based Practice, Richard F. Summers

Psychodynamic Techniques: Working with Emotion in the Therapeutic Relationship, Karen J. Maroda


The Psychodynamic Approach, Simply Psychology

Psychodynamic Therapy, Psychology Today

What is Psychodynamic Therapy?, Positive Psychology

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