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Psychodynamic therapy or psychoanalytic therapy, examines the complexities of interpersonal relationships. It stresses two important assumptions. 1 - Each individual and their difficulties are unique. 2 - Factors outside of our awareness influence our thoughts and behaviour. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a talking treatment based on the theories and practice of psychoanalysis. It has long been recognised that relationship problems, unexplained physical symptoms, feelings of loneliness and isolation or sadness or repeated behavioural patterns which we find unhelpful or destructive are rooted in parts of our mind which are outside our consciousness. The primary aim of psychoanalytic psychotherapy is to help clients resolve their entrenched difficulties by increasing their awareness of hidden unconscious conflicts that lie at the source/root of their problems.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapists are trained to tune in and think at depth about a client’s unconscious conflicts. This is done, for example, by working with your dreams and also focussing on your relationship with the therapist as it develops through the work that you do together. Your relationship with your therapist lies at the core of the psychoanalytic process and is the key to gaining vital insights into the sources of your difficulties. As you become more aware of the unconscious forces governing your life, insight gradually grows and the capacity for positive change is enhancer immeasurably. As self awareness grows you can experience not only relief from your symptoms but a renewed inner strength that can become the foundation for permanent change. While this can be a long process, the benefits can put you on a more solid foundation for the rest of your life. It is not unusual for those who have engaged in psychoanalytic psychotherapy to say that their outlook has been changed in quite profound and healing ways. The psychoanalytic therapist will seem less socially responsive and immediately reassuring than some other therapists. He or she will ask you to try to say whatever is going through your mind and will listen closely to what you are saying, but will generally be neutral, and keep personal feelings and reactions to themselves. You will have a space in which to unburden yourself, and the therapist will be trying to identify hidden patterns and meanings in what you are saying. He or she will be interested in the way you are relating to them and how this connects to other, perhaps challenging, relationships in your life. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy typically lasts longer than some other therapies, and it is not unusual to have more than one session per week.
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