About Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy is based on psychoanalysis. It addresses not only the immediate symptoms that bring people into therapy; rather, the focus is on helping patients to discern, understand and gain more control over unconscious patterns in how they think, feel and relate to themselves and other people.

In this form of therapy, patients usually come once or twice-weekly, often, although not always, on a longer-term basis (not infrequently, a year or more).

The basis of our work together is free association – which involves you in telling me about what you are feeling or thinking and then together we will try to articulate and understand your psychology. I do not offer guidance or advice, and I do not set tasks or targets – it is more a question of helping you to reach your own conclusions

What sort of problems can Psychodynamic Therapy help with?
• Common emotional and psychological problems such as: depression, anxiety, adjustment disorder, interpersonal relationship problems, low self-esteem; medically-unexplained symptoms
• Psychodynamic therapy can be especially helpful where there are clear difficulties but not clear reasons for them

In my experience, psychodynamic therapy is particularly suitable for patients who:
• Find it helpful to speak about their difficulties, want to understand themselves better, value an exploratory approach, and have a desire for change
• Are willing and able to tolerate and sustain emotional, time and financial commitment
• For those who prefer to learn more goal-directed strategies and techniques to manage their symptoms, it is possible that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) would be a better fit. CBT is usually a short-term therapy, whereas psychodynamic work is often on a longer-term basis (a year or more).

Evidence base
There is a growing evidence base supporting the efficacy of psychodynamic therapy:
• Effect sizes for psychodynamic therapies are as large as those reported for other ‘evidence-based’ treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
• The benefits of psychodynamic therapy are lasting and extend well beyond symptom remission with benefits often increasing after therapy has ended (Source: Jonathan Shedler [2010], “The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy”, American Psychologist, 65-2, 98-109).