Psychodynamic therapy is a form of psychotherapy that aims to explore and analyse the unconscious motivations and conflicts that influence a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. A focus is on motivations that are outside of someone’s awareness. It is based on the theories of Sigmund Freud and other psychoanalytic theorists.
The psychodynamic approach views psychological problems as stemming from early childhood experiences and conflicts that have been repressed or buried in the unconscious mind. The psychotherapist and the client work together to uncover and examine these unconscious elements by bringing them to the surface and resolving these.
It is encouraged that the client talks freely about their thoughts, feelings and experiences and may use techniques such as free association, dream analysis and their own interpretations of transference to aid the client in gaining insights into their unconscious conflicts and patterns. Psychodynamic therapy can be a longer term process, with sessions typically taking place once or twice a week over a period of several months or even years.
Overall, psychodynamic therapy aims to help individuals understand the root causes of their emotional struggles, improve their relationships and develop more fulfilling and value driven lives.
Psychodynamic therapy has its roots in the work of Sigmund Freud who was a Viennese neurologist that founded the paradigm of psychoanalysis in the late 19th century. Freud believed that people’s behavior and mental health were influenced by unconscious conflicts and repressed emotions, and that the goal of therapy was to bring these elements into consciousness which servers as the foundation in order to resolve these conflicts.
Freud’s theories and techniques, such as free association, interpretation of dreams and analysis of transference, were groundbreaking at the time and served as the foundation of what would become psychodynamic therapy. However, his approach also drew criticism for being overly focused on sexuality and for initially lacking scientific evidence.
Other psychoanalytic theorists such as Carl Jung, Alfred Adler and Melanie Klein developed their own variations of the psychodynamic approach. They expanded on Freud’s ideas and developed new techniques and concepts such as the collective unconscious, the inferiority complex and object relations theory.
In the mid-20th century, psychoanalytic theory and practice began to evolve and branch off into different schools of thought, including ego psychology and the psychology of the self. These approaches maintained the focus on unconscious motivations and emotional conflicts but also widened the scope by incorpoirating new ideas and techniques.
These days, psychodynamic therapy continues to be a widely practiced form of psychotherapy, with therapists from various disciplines and theoretical backgrounds drawing on the original theories developed by Freud et al..
There are many therapists and professional institutions that offer psychodynamic therapy in London. Here are some resources you can use to find a therapist:
- The British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) is a professional association that maintains a register of qualified psychodynamic psychotherapists. You can search their directory of therapists on their website at https://psychoanalytic-council.org/find-a-therapist/.
- The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust is a leading provider of psychodynamic therapy in London. They offer a range of services, including individual and group therapy with many sub-clinics for psychotherapy in London. You can find more information about their services on their website at https://tavistockandportman.nhs.uk/.
- A psychotherapist in London can also be found through bigger directories like counselling directory or psychology today. If you are looking for a psychotherapist near you, then this can be useful starting point.
- The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is a professional association that maintains a directory of qualified therapists, which includes those who practice psychodynamic therapy. You can make use of their directory at https://www.bacp.co.uk/search/Therapists.
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