When searching for a mental health professional to work with, it is important to understand that every therapist has a set of theories that informs the work they do. These theories represent how each therapist understands people, symptoms, the therapeutic process, and the process of change. While there is significant overlap among the different orientations and modalities, it is also important to choose a therapist whose orientation somewhat fits the type of work you want to do.
An Evidenced-Based Approach
There are many types of evidenced-based treatment models (e.g., DBT, EFT, & CBT) that can support clients with healing and growth. At Relational Psych, our practitioners primarily utilize psychodynamic and psychoanalytic theories and interventions because this approach has facilitated the greatest and longest-lasting change in our experiences as therapists. Psychodynamic and psychoanalytic theories are considered depth-oriented approaches to treatment because they approach psychological symptoms as indicators of deeper issues, needs, or conflicts that are being unacknowledged and uncared for. Suffering can be an opening to greater understanding one’s internal world and the unconscious emotional or relational patterns that have led us to our current dynamics or symptoms.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is an evidenced-based treatment approach that focuses on experiencing emotions, being known in relationships, and developing insight of past experiences. While a result of psychodynamic psychotherapy can be symptom reduction, the work prioritizes increased self-understanding, emotional capacity, satisfaction in relationships, integrated sense of self, and psychological strengths.
Key Aspects of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
- Saying whatever comes to mind
- Developing, exploring, and utilizing the therapeutic relationship created between the client and the therapist
- Exploring past experiences and attachment relationships
- Tolerating ambiguity
- Having a corrective emotional experience
Learn more about psychodynamic and psychoanalytic theory:
- That was Then, This is Now: An Introduction to Contemporary Psychodynamic Therapy by Jonathan Shedler
- Getting to Know Me by Jonathan Shedler
- Not your great-grandfather's psychoanalysis by Amy Novotney
- Wisdom From the Couch: Knowing and Growing Yourself from the Inside Out by Jennifer Kunst
- Post-Evaluation Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Educational Resource – The “PEPPER”