What is the Psychodynamic approach to Psychotherapy and Counselling?

The term ‘Psychodynamic Therapy’ or ‘Psychodynamic Counselling’ is a form of therapy which utilises a number of different analytical approaches and styles and is the most effective way to bring permanent changes to our lives.

Many of our actions are controlled by our unconscious and sub-conscious mind from patterns we formed, and emotions we experienced in our past, particularly our childhood. It is these memoriesand experiences, many of which may have been suppressed, that our view of the world,behaviour patterns and habits have been formed.

Using a high performance sports car as an analogy to explain the conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious mind in simple terms, our conscious mind is the driver, our sub-conscious mind is the engine and our unconscious mind is the engineering which gives the car its performance. As the driver we need to be intimate with every detail of the car. When we do not have this intimate knowledge we can overwork the engine and cause it to blow up,or try to manoeuvre the vehicle in a way for which it is not designed which will cause it to breakdown or crash. As the driver we need to be in total harmony with the vehicle, being aware of how it needs to be looked after, completely understanding the capacity of the engine, which will be awesome, used correctly and also understanding how the vehicle is engineered, the stress we can put on it and it’s stability when negotiating twists and turns in the road.

Staying with this analogy the ‘self’ or ‘id’ is the driver, the engine is our ‘ego’ and the engineering of the car is our ‘super-ego’. Every high performance car will have flaws or weaknesses and they will be different with every type of car and also there will never be two cars that are exactly the same in every detail. As with us! Once we understand the flaws we can correct them and once we can see the ‘weaknesses’ we can turn them to strengths.

Psychodynamic Therapy shows us how to understand our unconscious mind and bring it into our consciousness. Bringing events and memories held in the dark recesses of our being into the light, learning that there is no fear, shame or guilt, only that which is, no matter how strongly held, imagined and irrational. Once we can bring these things from our unconscious mind into the light they lose their hold over us, we are able to see them for what they truly are. Imagine viruses on your computer hard drive and one day an expert shows you how to load new anti-virus software which finds, isolates and removes all the viruses. You then keep running this software to protect yourself from any future attempts to hijack your hard drive.

No matter how similar the experiences people may share we are all designed with a unique emotional DNA which will produce different habits and behaviour patterns, sometimes the differences are subtle but nevertheless we are all different and therefore there is no single concrete solution to any identified condition. Psychodynamic counselling or therapyis directed towards each individual’s unconscious mind storing deep-rooted feelings and memories that affect our behaviour. Using a Psychodynamic approachthe therapist maintainsan equal relationship with the client, one based on unconditional acceptance of where the client is on any given occasion.