“Psychodynamic” refers to the dynamic quality of the mind (psyche) and recognizes that along with pressures in the outside world, unresolved “inner pushes and pulls” can lead to psychological difficulties.
A psychodynamic psychotherapist does not offer advice, make suggestions or try to change attitudes but listens and tries to understand, offering interventions to facilitate the exploration of personal thoughts and feelings. Within the therapy session, the pace and topic for discussion are determined by the patient. Over time, as the therapist is able to make meaningful reflections on repetitive difficulties, the patient has the opportunity to reflect, refine, correct and modify these difficulties utilizing the new psychological strengths that develop with new insight. With this opportunity to explore and examine inner processes, behaviour, sense of self, and relationships often change in deep and abiding ways.
The psychodynamic approach has proven a successful intervention in all forms of psychological difficulties and mental illness*, but not everyone is amenable to this form of treatment.
* The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy – 2009 American Psychological Journal.