As opposed to addressing behavioral issues in the here and now, Psychodynamic therapy focuses on the client’s psyche, taking a far more in depth look at the client’s unconscious, and then, from there, where psychic upset may emanate. It is in this in depth discovery that the client begins to understand why they act as they do, from these root issues formed early on and then how the client continues to repeat the behaviors throughout the client’s life. Through the examination of the past and the constructs which have been built and behaviorally reacted to, as having stemmed from those unconscious processes, the therapist and the client focus on self examination, enhancing self awareness and begin to address unresolved conflicts, problematic relationships , and how the client subsequently manifests those issues, e.g. in the form of self-harming substance abuse.
Psychodynamic therapy holds that the central conflicts are in direct relation to the unconscious, which is where those conflicts formed. In the development of these conflicts, defense mechanisms were created which is one way to avoid unpleasant events and/or said conflicts. These are developed during the formative years of childhood. These issues and conflicts which were created at that time continue to repeat, playing out within and through other relationships the client engages in. These dynamics and the results thereof, such as problems with others, inability to connect, the views of self in relation to self, possible incidents of trauma, can be explored and potentially worked through on a deeper level utilizing this therapeutic modality.
Clients and therapists must have a very strong relationship as the client will have to excavate a great deal of preceding internal conflict to arrive at the root and in that self-revealing displacement of defenses, an intense trust between the therapist and the client has to exist to support the immense amount of vulnerability which will prevalent within the sessions. This modality is most effective when the client can be as open, honest, and communicative as possible so the therapist and client can digressively seek the unconscious purveyors of the client’s repetitive behavior.
In Pyschodynamic therapy, there are options for a long form or a short form practice of treatment, which is approximately two years or twenty-five to forty visits, respectively. The frequency of visits is once to twice a week.
Within the long form version, there is an opportunity to potentially address multiple issues within the client’s circle of relationships, and utilize one of the characteristic methods practiced in this modality known as free association which is a traditional method for exploration of internal problems.
The short form is very goal specific and stays directly on the subject which has been agreed upon during the initial sessions between the therapist and the client. In having this type of structure with the goal created early on, the therapist insures the client stays focused during the sessions so free association usually not implemented in Psychodynamic therapy’s short form practice.
Psychodynamic therapy addresses the root of the issues as hand. At Alo House, we believe there must be an examination of “The All”, not just the part. We know band-aids can’t fix broken legs and we want our clients to be able to run.