What is the psychodynamic approach to psychotherapy?
Psychodynamic psychotherapy begins with a period of evaluation, during which
the client and the therapist discuss why the client is seeking treatment. During this initial phase, which may take
place in one session or a series of sessions, the client and the therapist together agree on a plan that addresses the client's
specific concerns and goals for treatment.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy places great importance on the relationships
between the therapist and the client. For many clients, this relationship is unique, in that the therapist maintains
a reliable, calm and accepting stance, unlike other well-intentioned people in the client's lives. It is within
this context that insight and self-awareness takes place, and positive changes can develop in the client's outlook and
In general, a psychodynamic psychotherapist helps clients identify patterns of thinking, feeling
and interacting that may be contributing to their problems.
As treatment progresses, the client becomes more aware of his or her own thoughts and feelings and learns
how and why certain coping styles, while adaptive in childhood, may no longer work. Clients can then develop and practice
more effective ways of dealing with their problems. In this way, deeper awareness and new insights stimulate psychological
growth and help the client to seek healthier relationships.