The psychodynamic approach explores issues that may have evolved from your past. It is believed that events from our childhood influence our adult lives, such as our personality, feelings, behaviour and even psychological problems.
These past experiences are stored in the unconscious mind, which means they are inaccessible to consciousness. If you think of an iceberg, the conscious mind is the tip you can see and the unconscious mind is the unseen part below the surface.
The unconscious mind holds onto painful feelings and memories, which are too difficult for the conscious mind to process. Many people develop defences, such as denial, to ensure that these memories remain hidden.
These defences can do more harm than good as people remain stuck in unhelpful patterns of behaviour. The psychodynamic approach aims to bring the unconscious mind into consciousness. By unravelling and understanding the past, issues in the here and now can be resolved.
The psychodynamic approach emphasises that a person develops within the context of relationship. I am particularly interested in the idea that our earliest relationship (e.g. primary caregiver) can significantly influence the relationship we have with ourselves (e.g. self-esteem, emotional regulation) and others.
If a client feels that a past issue needs to be worked on in therapy, I explore with the client their earliest relationships to understand their presenting issue.
Overall, the psychodynamic approach can help with a wide range of concerns. It can benefit clients who feel stuck and unable to move on with their lives.
The work is usually longer term due to its in-depth nature of understanding and processing the past to make positive changes in the present.