Psychodynamic counselling aims to help clients with a wide range of issues such as anxiety, phobias, OCD, addiction, trauma etc. It is also particularly helpful in relationship counselling as partners explore the conflicts within themselves and their relationships around them. It comes from the work of Freud and subsequent psychoanalytical theorists who followed; theorists such as Jung, Klein, Adler and so on. It uses the therapeutic relationship to gain insight into unconscious patterns that have developed since childhood. These memories and experiences help gain insight into frames of reference and current issues.
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Some of the basic premises of psychodynamic counselling include:
Our early experiences with others and our environment influence us in the here and now
All behaviours can be understood and made sense of
Understanding and awareness enables change
Our unconscious mind influences our feelings and behaviours
We exist simultaneously in an internal world (thoughts, feelings, self-concepts etc) as well as in an external world (our immediate environment and relationships)
Psychodynamic counselling is normally associated with longer term psychoanalytical work, however it can also be used in short term, time bound therapy. Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) was developed in the 1960’s and 1970’s by psychiatrist Habib Davanloo. His aim was to enhance the effectiveness of the therapy whilst minimising the length. This process became quite solution focused as the therapy sought to resolve more immediate issues and difficulties.
In short term psychodynamic counselling the therapist is an advocate for change. Change begins as clients become more aware of unconscious processes like behaviours and defence mechanisms. Developing a relationship where acceptance, empathy and understanding allows a trusting working alliance, the client can feel safe to explore deep rooted feelings in order to understand them. That understanding brings an awareness helps generate choices and a sense of control over reactions and responses
Psychodynamic counselling works best when the client is genuinely interested in exploring themselves as well as seeking relief from emotional distress. For instance when someone keeps getting involved with others who bully or abuse them, they can learn to break free from that pattern and learn to assert themselves by exploring their inner conflicts, associations and emotional transference.
This article was written by sentientcounselling