Benefits of Psychodynamic Therapy

Benefits of Psychodynamic Therapy

Presented by BetterHelp.

Chances are, when you think of therapy, you picture images related to the practice of psychodynamic therapy. The patient lying on a couch, with a therapist sitting alongside taking notes, for example. That’s because psychodynamic therapy is largely based on the work of Sigmund Freud, who, of course, is known as the “father of psychoanalysis.”

Despite its longstanding presence, psychodynamic therapy often finds itself overshadowed by newer, more symptom-focused modalities – but it’s important to acknowledge how patients can benefit from psychodynamic therapy’s holistic approach.

What is Psychodynamic Therapy?

Psychodynamic therapy is a form of talk therapy. It hinges on the idea that talking about life’s challenges can help both understand them and strengthen the skills they need to address them.

This approach explores the varied aspects of a person’s life, seeking to help people grasp often-unconscious motivations behind their difficult feelings and behaviors. Rather than reducing patients to a checklist of symptoms, psychodynamic therapy acknowledges the multifaceted nature of psychological suffering.

By addressing not only the symptoms but also underlying psychological complexities, this type of therapy empowers patients to navigate life’s challenges with resilience and self-awareness. Through in-depth exploration and introspection, clients gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationships, paving the way for lasting transformation.

And while it’s true that psychodynamic therapy grew out of the theories of Sigmund Freud, he hasn’t been the only one to influence the practice. Other significant leaders in the field have included Carl Jung, Melanie Klein and Anna Freud, among others.

And it’s come a long way since its early days in the 19th century. For more detail about the today’s practice of psychodynamic therapy, check out this post from online therapy provider BetterHelp.

What Does Psychodynamic Therapy Entail?

First and foremost, psychodynamic therapy prioritizes the relationship between the therapist and the client. It provides an opportunity for people to gain insights into themselves, their past experiences and their sometimes-complex feelings. Through this process, patients often develop a better understanding of their perception of the world, along with how that perception shapes and colors their feelings and behaviors.

Psychodynamic therapy is based on the following key principles:

  • Unconscious motivations — including social pressure, psychology and biology— may have tremendous influence over conscious behavior.
  • Our experiences shape our personalities, which can often then influence our perception of that experience.
  • Past experiences influence present reality.
  • Developing insight and emotional understanding can help those who are experiencing mental health conditions.
  • Expanding their options and improving personal relationships can help people address many of the challenges in their lives.
  • Freeing themselves from their pasts can help people live more healthfully in the future.

Unlike treatments that scratch the surface of symptoms, psychodynamic therapy delves into underlying causes, fostering self-reflection and self-examination. By exploring the intricate interplay between past experiences and present behaviors, it offers individuals a profound understanding of their emotional landscape.

It’s important to note that psychodynamic therapy doesn’t represent a quick fix for any particular challenge – in fact, it can be quite time consuming, thanks to its focus on relationship-building and fully exploring thoughts and feelings.

Short-term psychodynamic therapy generally lasts for 25 to 30 sessions over a period of six to eight months, while long-term psychodynamic therapy may last for longer than a year and/or include more than 50 sessions.

Does it Work?

There is evidence to suggest that psychodynamic therapy can be helpful for several physical and mental health conditions, including the following:

  • Depression
  • Social anxiety, social phobia and panic disorder
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Chronic pain
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Psychopathological issues in children and adolescents

Many experts also report that psychodynamic therapy can enhance quality of life by helping clients better understand their own motivations and behaviors. This can help them break self-defeating cycles, address issues with avoidance, and strengthen important personal relationships.

Most studies, in fact, have found psychodynamic therapy to be roughly as effective as two other common forms of therapy: cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.

However – it is important to note that although psychodynamic therapy can be an effective form of treatment for many mental health conditions, it has been shown as less effective for conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, drug addiction and psychosis. However, more systematic evidence around these specific treatments is needed.

The Key Takeaway

Psychodynamic therapy is a form of talk therapy that has been shown as effective in helping people who are experiencing depression, anxiety, chronic pain and relationship issues, among other challenges. This type of treatment approach helps people understand their present challenges by exploring unconscious feelings, thoughts and past experiences.

Developing these psychological skills may help people make better choices and increase their overall well-being over the long term. Armed with a deeper understanding of themselves, they can be better equipped to navigate life’s challenges and forge healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

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Johnny is dedicated to providing useful information on commonly asked questions on the internet. He is thankful for your support ♥

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