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Psychodynamics, or psychodynamic counseling, is a form of talk therapy that focuses on the way a person’s behavior may be influenced by unconscious feelings or emotions. This form of therapy is based on the techniques of psychoanalysis.  Psychodynamics encompasses all the theories in psychology that connect a person’s emotions, experiences, memories and beliefs to specific behavioral patterns and present-day mental health concerns.


Psychodynamic therapy examines the experiences that have occurred in a person’s childhood or past that may have a current effect on his or her present-day behavior or mental state. By delving deep into the unconscious processes of the brain, the therapist helps patients gain insight and awareness into unresolved issues that may have been suppressed or repressed over time. In addition, this form of therapy allows the patient to make important connections between emotions of the past and those being experience in the present.


Which mental health conditions are treated using psychodynamic therapy?

The following mental health conditions are successfully treated using this specific therapy approach:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic disorders
  • Personality disorders (such as borderline personality disorder)
  • Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Sexual Disorders


Why do therapists use psychodynamic therapy?

Therapists find psychodynamic therapy to be effective in treating mental health conditions that exist due to past unconscious conflicts. This form of therapy is helpful in allowing a patient to find resolution to present-day issues by first discovering the root of his or her conflict. Mental health conditions that may be based on some form of traumatic life experience, painful memory or difficulty that began in early childhood can be helped through psychodynamic therapy. Although the mental health condition that exists may not ever be completed solved, psychodynamic therapy helps a patient to develop improved coping strategies and enhanced self-awareness to help better understand the struggles involved.

What can be expected from psychodynamic therapy?

Psychodynamic therapy uses a supportive environment established by the therapist to allow the patient to become comfortable enough to discuss past events and experiences. This form of therapy is based on developing a safe and comfortable relationship with the patient, as well as an environment that makes it easier for the patient to open up about past experiences.  The therapist allows the patient to speak freely, only interjecting to ask questions or redirect the discussion. The therapist maintains a neutral position for the duration of the session to help foster a more trusting relationship.


Together the patient and therapist will develop goals to be achieved throughout the course of treatment. The initial sessions may be used to evaluate the patient’s needs, design a treatment plan, and allow the therapist to gain understanding of the struggles that are afflicting the patient. Once established, sessions will be goal- oriented to promote psychological growth and an alleviation of symptoms.  The duration of treatment will depend on the severity of a person’s mental health condition and the speed at which progress is made through the course of treatment.


Although certain mental health conditions may never be fully resolved, psychodynamic therapy can be greatly successful in helping the patient to adapt more productively by developing better coping strategies, increasing awareness of mental struggles,  and establishing better interpersonal relationships.