Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a process in which a professional assists a client in uncovering the historical and unconscious basis of problems. It is believed that individuals develop problematic behaviors at a very young age and that the unconscious conflicts underlying these behaviors must be uncovered and resolved in order for them to be freed from their problem and live a happier and more satisfying life.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is often a longer term therapeutic model that relies on regular, weekly (or more frequent) sessions with the therapist in which clients slowly develop insight into their early childhood conflicts and work to resolve them. The relationship between the therapist and client is central to resolving conflicts and developing insight, as the client reenacts early childhood conflicts in their relationship with the therapist.
When to use psychodynamic psychotherapy: Psychodynamic models are especially helpful when a client wants to understand why they think, feel, and behave in the ways that they do and also when a person has been unable to benefit from more directive or solution focused models. Sometimes a person’s behavior patterns are resistant to change and it’s necessary to uncover blocks to progress before lasting change can occur. Use of some psychodynamic techniques may also be indicated even when the primary model being used is more concrete (such as cognitive-behavioral or solution focused).