How Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Works In Practice

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a branch of the science which relies upon analytical procedures developed by the pioneers of psychoanalysis. The idea is not just for the practitioner to understand what may be going on in the mind of the patient, but for the patient to be given the opportunity to understand what is going on in their own mind. By doing this, the practitioner opens up the possibility of the patient changing long ingrained behavior patterns, and being fully conscious of how and why this is taking place.

The techniques aim for a similar goal to those of hypnotherapy, but in a completely different way. In hypnotherapy, the patient is taken back in time to relive certain incidents which may be troublesome for them, whereas in psychoanalysis the patient can effectively relive their own thought process as it changes throughout many life incidents. The observing phase is less concerned with finding problem incidents, and more concerned with analyzing the thoughts which occur. The patient is not just showing the practitioner how they think in certain situations, they are also revealing a side of themselves which can be worked upon.

This therapy is far more effective when it can be carried out over an extended period of time with the same patient and the same practitioner. There needs to be trust between the two parties, and this is more likely to happen when there is some prior history and a lessening of a feeling that the situation is threatening. The practitioner also needs to know where to take the conversation to bring out the most revealing responses from the patient, and this is likely to happen when there is already a working knowledge of the case. Working at the some time every week or two weeks also builds up confidence within the inner mind of the patient.

psychotherapy approaches

The techniques of psychodynamic psychotherapy are best learned with plenty of practice, as this will bring up many different examples of how mental conditions can be eased and treated. No two cases are ever the same, but the best practitioners build up a database of cases within their mind which instantly allows then to refer back to previous incidents whenever something occurs which links to them. They are then able to steer the patient into familiar ground, and often repeat the successful treatment. Of course, no two cases will progress in the same way, and no two people will have exactly the same reaction to memories.

This does not mean that it will necessarily take hours of practical work before you can qualify to work in this profession. There are many successful psychologists who have studied online for the college degree which they needed to become licensed, and then gone into practice very quickly following this. The best way to do this is by joining a firm of practitioners, instead of going it alone. This will give you the opportunity to compare methodologies and notes, and give you a greater degree of preparedness when you come to treat your own cases.


The techniques of psychodynamic psychotherapy are constantly evolving as new cases reveal new possibilities to harness previous discoveries. It is important for anyone ether in the profession or thinking of joining the profession to keep up with every development which happens, as many of them are significant. There are trade journals which are available to professionals within the industry, but much of the material is presented online where it can be accessed even by those who have not yet qualified. It pays to keep studying psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Author: Marc Knox