If you often find yourself troubled by the same old negative patterns happening in your life then it is time to see a psychotherapist. Psychodynamic psychotherapy helps people increase their understanding of themselves and improve their ability to cope with difficulties and problems in their lives.
People who come for psychotherapy are often aware of repetitive feelings or patterns in their lives that trouble them and which they would like to change. Whereas counselling tends to focus on a specific situation or problem, psychodynamic psychotherapy focuses more on the longstanding behaviours or parts of your personality that you would like to improve. Whilst we can’t make ourselves into someone that we are not, when we understand ourselves more clearly we can gain some mastery over our reactions rather than be a slave to them. We can begin to feel better about ourselves and regain a sense of choice over which direction life will take.
People coming for psychotherapy often say things such as:
- I always seem to be unhappy.
- I’m much more anxious than anybody else – it’s not normal.
- I just get so angry. It comes out of nowhere!
- I feel powerless to change my situation.
- All my friends tell me I over analyse everything.
- I just don’t know what to do.
- I always seem to end up in bad relationships even though I know they aren’t good for me.
- I have such big reactions to seemingly small events.
- I know I’ll end up doing it again but it feels beyond my control.
- I seem to sabotage all my relationships but I can’t stop myself.
- I have such low esteem. If I could just stop the negative talk in my head…
A psychotherapist will help you to explore your present and past experiences so you can make sense of why you feel the way you do and begin to understand why certain situations trigger specific (and perhaps undesirable) responses. The process of psychotherapy will help you develop new and more effective ways of managing challenging situations through an increased understanding of yourself and the experiences and events in your life which have shaped you.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy continues to help long after treatment has finished
Psychodynamic therapy is an empirically supported treatment for a range of issues including depression, anxiety, panic, and substance abuse. Research has shown that psychodynamic psychotherapy is as effective – or more effective – than other comparable therapies such as CBT or medication. Furthermore, people who receive psychodynamic therapy continue to improve long after treatment has finished.
What happens during the session?
Sessions are 50 minutes long and usually occur weekly. Your therapist will help you to understand what experiences in your life have influenced who you are now, and how the ways you have learned to cope in the past might help or hinder you in the present. Rather than focus on a specific situation, the focus will be on how you experience the situation, and through this you will begin to understand how you shape your life and how your life shapes you.
It’s never too late to change
Psychotherapy is about understanding what makes you who you are so that you can regain some choice over your reactions to life’s challenges. Looking back on our lives most of have some moments that we wish we had handled differently; a psychotherapist can help you develop better ways of reacting when these moments occur in the future. As we begin to understand our past actions more clearly we can reap the benefits of this insight and open up possibilities for a more satisfying way of living.