What is the psychodynamic approach?
Psychodynamic psychotherapy and counselling are modern names for therapy that developed from psychoanalysis and Jungian analysis. These are therapies with more than 100 years of research and development behind them. They are often caricatured as therapies that are endlessly backwards looking rather than helping you address present issues. This is incorrect. The psychodynamic approach works not just by looking at your past, but by focussing upon what is happening in your life now. This includes reflecting upon the way the working relationship with your therapist develops. By doing this it gives you the chance to grasp the way life can become complicated, the way problems can develop in the present. This means that as you learn more about the way counterproductive situations develop in your life, you stand a chance of being able to break the pattern, and so work more constructively towards the kind of creative ways of living and relating that you would prefer. It is practical.
The psychodynamic approach developed out of attempts to understand and work with trauma. It remains a very useful approach to traumatic and post-traumatic injuries but it has also developed into an approach that is equally useful when approaching less traumatic, but still serious issues. Psychodynamic psychotherapy takes clients’ presenting problems seriously. A lot of people flit periodically like butterflies from one kind of counselling approach to another. They know that they have problems that require attention but never find a way to engage with them. So when a problem develops they seek out a therapist to deal with the tip of the iceberg but don’t find a way to stay to get to the depth of the problem. This means that over time problems are likely to recur in different relationships and parts of their lives. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is capable of working with people to a depth, of providing the safe setting in which all manner of worries can be explored. A lot of what you hear about the evidence of the effectiveness of different therapies turns out to be very questionable. The evidence is that people who engage in a psychodynamic approach, over time, have a much greater chance of success, of changing the way life works for them.
Psychotherapists and counsellors who train to work using the psychodynamic approach should have had a more in-depth experience of their own personal analyses. This means that their clients should be working with someone who has worked very seriously to understand themselves. Anyone can write that they work to a psychodynamic approach, but it is worth checking whether they are listed with the UKCP/CPJA, BPC or BACP. You might also ask about their psychodynamic qualifications and training experience.
How I work
There is no homework requirement to a psychodynamic approach. All you have to do is get to your session, if that can happen then the work has a chance to develop. It is possible to work using the psychodynamic approach in short-term time-limited therapy as well as in open ended work. There are no obligations. Call to arrange a free telephone consultation to discuss how Counselling Buckinghamshire’s psychodynamic psychotherapy and counselling may be able to help you.