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Psychodynamic therapy - what is it? It is based on a conversation - the patient talks about what he or she wants to talk about at the moment, and the therapist thoroughly analyzes the patient's statements and behavior. When is psychodynamic therapy used? Why is it so important in her case to choose the right therapist, how does it run and work?


  1. Psychodynamic therapy: what is it?
  2. Psychodynamic therapy: how is it going?
  3. Psychodynamic therapy: how long does it take?
  4. Psychodynamic therapy: what are the effects?

Psychodynamic therapy is one of the types of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is the second - next to pharmacotherapy - the basic method of treatment, used in the case of people with various mental disorders.

Psychodynamic therapy is largely similar to psychoanalytic therapy - in both therapies their basic assumptions are derived from Freudian psychoanalysis - however, there are some specific features of psychodynamic therapy, which are the basis for distinguishing this type of therapy psychotherapy among other therapeutic trends.

Psychodynamic therapy: what is it?

The basic premise of psychodynamic therapy is that various psychopathological symptoms - such as anxiety, mood disorders, and personality disorders - develop as a result of unconscious psychological conflicts.

We think about some unpleasant and difficult situations on a regular basis (i.e. they are in the conscious part of our mind), but other events can be extremely difficult and then they are sometimes pushed into the unconscious. The existence of such a mechanism would protect us from the occurrence of a complete nervous breakdown. It is not, however, that if a situation causing a psychological conflict is pushed into the unconscious, the problem disappears.

On the contrary - unworked mental conflict, experienced e.g. in early childhood, may affect the entire future, adult life of a given person. The essence of psychodynamic therapy is the detection of these unconscious conflicts and their subsequent processing. The basis of this type of psychotherapy isa conversation that the patient has with his psychotherapist.

This is where the characteristic feature of psychodynamic therapy appears - just as psychotherapy is sometimes associated with a couch and with the patient freely telling stories from his life, being in a horizontal position, psychodynamic psychotherapy works completely differently.

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Psychodynamic therapy: how is it going?

Psychodynamic therapy could basically be considered as the one in which the relationship between the therapist and the subject is the most intense. Conversations during this psychotherapy take place face to face - the therapist observes all the behaviors displayed by his patient.

It is important not only the patient's facial expressions, but also whether he has any additional movements (e.g. nervous twitching of the lower limbs). The psychodynamic therapist pays attention to various aspects - he observes, for example, what topics the patient avoids, it is even important whether the patient comes to therapeutic meetings on time. The entire range of behaviors that the patient exhibits is interpreted.

What, however, are the conversations in the therapy room about? In fact - everything. Generally, the therapist does not ask the patient questions, nor does he impose the topics discussed during the session: the patient is to talk about what he wants to talk about. Analyzing the topics selected by the patient is an important element of the entire psychodynamic therapy.

Various psychological phenomena are very important in psychodynamic therapy. We are talking here, for example, about transference, i.e. a phenomenon where the patient's emotions - directed at completely different people, e.g. his parents or partner - are somehow redirected to the therapist. Directly related to this is countertransference, i.e. what emotions arise in the therapist under the influence of the patient's behavior. Both transference and countertransference are very important because analyzing them can help the patient find psychological balance.

When the patient shows emotional states towards the therapist, with which he or she struggled during difficult life situations - e.g. in the case of a difficult, incorrect relationship with a parent - it is possible to search for why such emotions appeared in him and to analyze what problems such events later led to. Ultimately, overwork is going to happen in the therapy officesuch unresolved psychological conflicts.

Worth knowing

In what cases is it worth using psychodynamic therapy?

Psychodynamic therapy can be used in the case of a very large number of mental disorders. This type of psychotherapy can be offered to patients who struggle with:

  • mood disorders,
  • eating disorders,
  • anxiety disorders,
  • personality disorder,
  • post-traumatic stress disorder,
  • problems in relationships with other people (be it friendships or relationships).

Psychodynamic therapy: how long does it take?

The specific time during which psychodynamic therapy lasts cannot be stated unfortunately - the number of sessions necessary to improve the patient's mental state depends, among others, on on what problem is treated, as well as on how quickly the effects of implementing the therapy appear.

Generally, however, psychodynamic therapy lasts longer than shorter - it happens that the therapeutic cycle lasts several months, but it can also last even several years. During this time, the patient meets the therapist a certain number of times (usually 2-3) a week, and a single session typically lasts about 45-60 minutes.

Psychodynamic therapy: who can do it?

Psychodynamic psychotherapy can be conducted only by those people who have special certificates and who have undergone psychotherapy themselves. A psychotherapist can be, for example, a person who graduated in psychology, but also a doctor whose specialization is psychiatry.

It was previously mentioned that psychodynamic therapy is one where there is a rather specific relationship between the therapist and the patient. For this reason, a patient who plans to benefit from psychodynamic therapy should carefully choose the specialist he or she will attend.

If a given psychotherapist does not inspire our trust from the beginning, we feel aversion to him or some other negative feelings, then it would be best to look for another specialist. Achieving the goals of psychodynamic therapy is possible only when the patient is open and honest with his therapist - so before we start therapy, let's first consider whether we will actually be able to open up to a given specialist.

Worth knowing

Psychodynamic therapy: what are the effects?

A patient who comes to psychodynamic therapy typically struggles with some problem related to the functioning of his psyche. Overall, then, liberation is the intended effect of psychodynamic therapytreated for this problem, although there are many other benefits associated with this psychotherapy.

Thanks to the therapy, the patient's self-confidence may improve, in addition, changes in his personality may also occur - thanks to them, the patient's functioning with himself and with other people can be significantly improved.

About the authorBow. Tomasz NęckiA graduate of medicine at the Medical University of Poznań. An admirer of the Polish sea (most willingly strolling along its shores with headphones in his ears), cats and books. In working with patients, he focuses on always listening to them and spending as much time as they need.

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