People in psychodynamic psychotherapy often have the experience of discovering something entirely new about themselves, accessing emotions outside of their regular emotional repertoire, or coming to realize that long-held beliefs no longer seem true.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy offers an opportunity to locate and unravel sources of internal tension that might be holding you back from more gratifying relationships and work. Many people I see come to therapy to change bad habits or develop better coping skills. I sometimes use behavioral, skill-based approaches such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) to assist my clients in making these changes. But I do not consider this to be the most vital aspect of therapy. After many years doing this work I have come to feel that focusing primarily on symptoms and behaviors in therapy leaves too much important material exactly where it has always been—hidden from awareness where it can continue to cause distress and dysfunction.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is different than behaviorally-focused approaches in that there is more value placed on uncovering beliefs and feelings that lie beneath the surface. It is for this reason that people in psychodynamic psychotherapy often have the experience of discovering something entirely new about themselves, accessing emotions outside of their regular emotional repertoire, or coming to realize that long-held beliefs no longer seem true.
Within a psychodynamic approach, I use an object relations framework to understand the relationship templates that were created in early life and how these templates are at play in current relationships. Though it is counter-intuitive we often (unconsciously) recreate difficult or painful relationships from our past. This tendency may be the culprit if one finds they are having the same types of problems in relationships time and again. Examining earlier experiences can help make sense of the ineffective or upsetting relationship patterns we are struggling with today. It can be a relief to discover that there are reasons why we hurt people we care about, sabotage good relationships, feel insecure or inadequate, or retreat from intimacy or connection when it is what we actually desire most of all. Insight into the why along with guidance and support in forming new patterns (with the therapy relationship serving as practice space https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jan/10/psychotherapy-childhood-mental-health) can allow these ungratifying and stressful re-creations to be put to rest once and for all.
Psychodynamic work has the potential to do more than alleviate symptoms; it can stimulate the loosening of binds that keep one from being their most free and true self and, in this way, it has the power to be transformative.