Anxiety, depression, and personality disorders are but a few of the issues people of the world face today. Psychodynamic therapy has been proffered as a viable treatment option for these issues. But is it? To answer this, we have come up with a list of the top 5 reasons why you need a psychodynamic therapist. The reasons why you would need a psychodynamic therapist are all encapsulated in the work (s)he does and the benefits you would experience from this work.
The main aim of psychodynamic therapy is to reveal the unconscious reasons for conscious behaviors. It is the study of the unconscious psychological impulses that may be products of early experience.
What Does A Psychodynamic Therapist Do?
Psychodynamic therapists are interested in knowing about the past; they seek to find out all details concerning their client’s past because this information serves as the foundation for current behaviour patterns. Behaviour patterns are responses that are performed repeatedly and can be a result of traumatic events in the past. An example of a past event that can trigger behaviour patterns is divorce. Children that witness the divorce of their parents may grow up to have abandonment issues. This is especially so if one of the parents is not involved in their lives after the divorce.
There are several reasons for ongoing unwanted behaviour patterns and unwanted persistent thoughts. What the therapist does is to investigate the client’s past to find out events that have resulted in present behaviours and thoughts, and then work with the client in getting rid of those thoughts and behaviours. The first step involves gaining an understanding of the event that resulted in the problem. Essentially, a therapist works with clients to help them grasp the relationship between their present behaviours and past events. BetterHelp.com features a detailed report on the role of a psychodynamic therapist.
Psychodynamic therapy is often considered as a combination of therapies rather than a single type of therapy.
Here are some examples of psychodynamic therapy and approaches that therapists use:
- Open dialogue therapy, wherein information is shared freely by the client.
- Psychodynamic family therapy used in conflict resolution.
- Music therapy, in which clients express themselves through music or any other art form. They could also do this while talking.
- Brief PDT, which in most cases lasts for only a few sessions. This may be applicable to helping victims of rape, accidents, or terrorism.
- Journaling/writing to communicate emotions, fears, thoughts, etc.
How Does Psychodynamic Therapy Work?
Unwanted thoughts and behaviours can result from unconscious triggers that were cultivated in response to early life experiences.
Psychodynamic therapy is an evidence-based treatment technique with impact levels in line with or exceeding those reported for other psychotherapies. Psychodynamic therapy is structured to reveal the psychological processes that developed as a result of early life experiences. Once the processes are revealed, the clients begin to understand their behaviours and motivations. This helps alleviate the symptoms.
Reasons Why You Need A Psychodynamic Therapist
1. They Help you Effectively Manage Your Emotions.
By helping you focus on recognizing and expressing feelings, psychodynamic therapists help you channel your emotions in a positive direction towards better productivity, better relationships, and an improved state of mind.
2. They Proffer Effective Strategies Towards Conflict Resolution
By helping you recognize how you try to avoid thoughts and feelings that are distressing, the psychodynamic therapist effectively sets you on the path towards healthier approaches to conflict resolution and dealing with issues in our day-to-day interactions.
3. Could Improve Personality Traits and Relationships
In a finding published by the American Psychologist from one meta-analysis (made up of 160 studies focused on psychodynamic therapy, featuring more than 1,400 patients with a range of mental health problems), researchers found significant improvement with treatment, even among patients with personality disorders — considered as deeply set maladaptive traits that are usually difficult to treat.
It was discovered that psychodynamic psychotherapy sets into motion, psychological processes that result in change that continued even after therapy had been concluded. With the therapist’s assistance, patients are able to practice self-exploration, assess their own emotional blind spots and gain an improved understanding as regards improving relationship patterns.
4. Help in Identifying Recurring Themes and Patterns
Problematic behaviours and patterns begin to abate as soon as the past event is completely investigated, analyzed, and understood. Persistent patterns imply that there is more work to be done; there could be other events and experiences that have led to the current problems. Another reason why patterns and behaviours could persist is a lack of understanding; it can be harder to see a relationship between the event and the present behaviour.
5. Can Help Improve Social Functioning
A meta-analysis published in Archives of General Psychiatry that consisted of 17 randomized controlled trials found evidence that PDT was to a significant extent, more effective than the control, and just as effective as other types of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), for helping those with a range of psychiatric symptoms and defective social functioning.
Effective Treatment of a Variety of Mental Health Symptoms
Psychodynamic therapy could be used to treat a wide variety of mental and emotional symptoms, behaviours, and behaviour patterns. The treatment is targeted at self-awareness or self-knowledge, and most mental health conditions respond to this treatment. Psychodynamic therapy can also help an individual deal with current issues stemming from an event such as divorce. Talking about problems, emotions, and traumatic events fosters a deeper level of self-awareness, helping the individual to understand “why”. Here is a list of a few of the mental health problems/symptoms that can be treated using psychodynamic therapy:
- Borderline personality disorders
- Other depression-related disorders
- Panic disorders
- Personality disorders
- Physical symptoms that have no physical basis
Some psychology researchers and a few other mental health care practitioners are of the opinion that psychodynamic therapy can even be applicable in the treatment of mental health disorders like schizophrenia. There is substantial proof of the benefits of receiving psychodynamic therapy, and they originate from the ability to recognize behaviours and their triggers. The concept is that as soon as individuals identify behaviours and their triggers, they can effectively deal with the symptoms by identifying them as what they are – symptoms.
Benefits of Psychodynamic Therapy
Psychodynamic therapy is geared towards providing the client with a practical self-awareness that will result in a relief of symptoms, and this understanding keeps increasing even after the completion of treatment. Here is a list of benefits psychodynamic therapy can provide:
- The ability to identify symptoms before they get out of control
- Coping skills
- A deeper knowledge of self
- Long-lasting, effective relief
Psychodynamic therapy supplies the answers to why we do what we do, connecting subconscious constructs and past events to present behaviours and behaviour patterns. As soon as there is an answer to “why?”, it gets easier to identify the behaviour for what it is. The benefits last for longer since there is an answer to the behaviour and there are coping skills to alleviate the symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Difference between Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Therapy?
Although the line of distinction is a bone of contention among therapists, the time duration of therapy is the major difference. In Psychodynamic therapy, therapeutic sessions hold once or twice a week. Whereas in Psychoanalysis, the sessions hold three to five times a week. The intensity of therapeutic alliance is therefore greater in Psychoanalysis.
Psychodynamic therapy vs. CBT: Which is better?
CBT (which drives at changing conscious thoughts and observable behaviours) may be combined with PDT since they both work to reveal ingrained beliefs and habits. They have also been shown to be effective, and their benefits last or even increase over time.