What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

Sigmund Freud (1856 to 1939) developed a psychodynamic theory of the mind. In describing his theory, Freud used the analogy of an iceberg: the conscious mind is the very tip of the iceberg and the huge mass that is hidden under the depths of the sea is the unconscious.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy was born out of this theory and implies that there is an unconscious dimension to who we are. The depth of the unconscious is something that we are unaware of: repressed feelings and emotions, desires, thoughts and memories which can be unpleasant and cause us to feel pain, anxiety or conflict.

The psychodynamic model is based on the idea that our past experiences, behaviours and relationships affect who we are today. These can often result in a feeling of ‘stuckness’ in the present. Unravelling the conflicts that result from this ‘stuckness’ is fundamental to the process of understanding ourselves and how we relate to others. To make the unconscious conscious enables you to have more of an insight into who you are. Therefore, the aim of psychodynamic psychotherapy is to help you make sense of your current situation and of the feelings, thoughts and associated memories that have brought about this situation. 

During our sessions together, feelings, thoughts, images and dreams can be explored to help you gain a deeper understanding of how you relate to yourself and to others, and why they may be affecting you. It is important to go through this process in order to change and not repeat the patterns of behaviour that have caused you to seek therapy. 

The psychodynamic model employs strict boundaries with regards to session time-keeping, payment, statement of understanding, breaks and endings. Such boundaries help to contain and hold you during the therapeutic process. A psychodynamic psychotherapist usually keeps to the rule of abstinence and anonymity, so that the patient knows little about the therapist. This can be challenging, but it is also an essential part of the therapy as it can give us both an insight into your past experiences and the way you relate to others and to me.

The need for confidentiality and privacy will be respected and maintained.

Learn more about psychotherapy online here or download the helpful booklet "Making sense of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis" here

For details of the practicalities of how I work, please read my page ‘How It Works’.