Psychodynamic Therapy, also known as Insight-Oriented Therapy, focuses on unconscious processes as they are manifested in a person’s present behavior. The goal of psychodynamic therapy is for the client to achieve self-awareness and understanding of the influence of the past on present behavior. In its brief form, a psychodynamic approach enables the client to examine unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from past dysfunctional relationships and manifest themselves in the need and desire to abuse substances.

Several different approaches to brief psychodynamic psychotherapy have evolved from psychoanalytic theory and have been clinically applied to a wide range of psychological disorders. There is a body of research that generally supports the efficacy of these approaches. Psychodynamic Therapy is the oldest of the modern therapies. (Freud’s psychoanalysis is a specific form and subset of psychodymanic therapy.) As such, it is based in a highly-developed and multifaceted theory of human development and interaction.

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What to Expect

The primary technique is talking therapy.

Most psychodynamic approaches are centered on the concept that some maladaptive functioning is in play; and, that this maladaptation is, at least in part, unconscious. The presumed maladaptation develops early in life and eventually causes difficulties in day-to-day life. Psychodynamic therapies focus on revealing and resolving these unconscious conflicts that are driving symptoms.

Major techniques used by psychodynamic therapists include free-association, resistance-identification and transference/countertransference, in order to work through painful memories and difficult issues, while building a strong “therapeutic alliance”. As in some psychoanalytic approaches, the therapeutic relationship is seen as a key means to understand and work through the relational difficulties that the client has suffered in life.

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