Who can benefit from Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy uses Psychoanalytic theory but offers a lower frequency of contact than Psychoanalysis, either once or twice weekly.  Most people can benefit as the aim of this therapy model is to think about, and understand factors outside of people’s immediate awareness, noticing how these factor influence their thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (therapy) focusses on the development of understanding and insight into the root causes of psychological difficulties. These difficulties commonly manifest themselves as symptoms such as anxiety, depression, strong emotional states and physical symptoms. Getting to the root cause of symptoms usually takes a longer time period as the symptom is the consequence of an unconscious way that the mind seeks to protect itself from otherwise unbearable thoughts, feelings or memories.

Therapy is therefore provided within an open-ended contract, although when a specific issue or difficulty is identified a shorter and focussed therapy, for example 16 sessions, is sometimes agreed.

Upon ending psychotherapy people usually sustain the benefits of their work and continue to find improvements in their life. This is because the therapeutic work is based upon the development of meaningful awareness of ‘things’ that have become problematic, unhelpful, undermining or destructive in their life. The development of such insight allows people to feel psychologically stronger, making it possible to master and outgrow the original difficulties. Such mastery is a core component of increased self confidence and self esteem.

Putting words to feelings of distress, overwhelm and helplessness is often difficult in the first instance. The sharing of these feelings can, however, bring relief due to a sense of feeling less isolated, ashamed and self critical.

The following is a list of conditions and symptoms that often benefit from engaging in therapy with a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist:



Repeatedly being drawn to unhelpful or demeaning relationships.

Difficulties with anger.

General sense of dissatisfaction or distress.


Bereavement difficulties.

Difficulties with making commitments to relationships.

Sexual difficulties.

Personality patterns or tendencies to repeat difficulties in work relationships.

Difficulties with learning (where there is no evidence of an organic learning difficulty).

Psychosomatic conditions.

Shame and humiliation.



To some degree or other, the experience of trauma is a common factor to each of the difficulties listed above. People quickly re-experience feelings of earlier traumatic events in the here and now.  These might be triggered when sounds, smells, events or an ‘atmosphere’ re-mind people of thoughts and memories that have ‘got inside’ them previously and remain unresolved or unprocessed.

Mostly such experiences are lived with, either by having let go of them or by pushing them out of mind. However, when the re-appearance of such memories becomes troubling or burdensome, they often effect the way people live their life and how they engage in relationships. It is in such circumstances that the symptoms listed above may become a recurrent or ongoing difficulty.

The re-experience of traumatic memories can often leave people feeling as if they are temporarily back in the original event. Because the feelings are so overwhelming,  people sometimes find it difficult to be able to be clear that a situation is ‘like’  being back in the original event; instead feeling that they are actually in the original event.   Such experiences can be very disturbing and are commonly called a flashback.

Work with a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist allow the unbearable feelings of trauma to be thought about and worked through in a safe environment. Doing so allows the person seeking treatment to develop a feeling of being more in control of their mind and feelings, developing greater feelings of safety in their environment and their emotional relationships as a result.

For more information either click here. The link will take you to a Podcast by Jonathan Shelder. Phd, titled “What is Dynamic Psychotherapy and does it work?