Psychodynamic therapy, also sometimes referred to as psychoanalytic therapy, is a clinical approach derived from the theories and principles of psychoanalysis. It shares its long-term in-depth qualities with psychoanalysis but is considered less intensive as patients tend to meet less frequently with their therapists than analytic patients do (once a week vs. 3-5 times a week).

What is the aim of psychodynamic therapy?

The aim of psychodynamic therapy is to address and resolve issues that lie at the root unwanted symptoms. Talking through things with a skilled therapist provides a unique opportunity to understand what underlies the deeply rooted patterns that keep us from feeling whole, alive, and connected to ourselves and others. Putting words to thoughts and feelings within the therapeutic conversation helps relieve feelings of hopelessness, meaninglessness, as well as frustration and brings clarity and meaning to our inner worlds. Through the process of therapy, patients come to know themselves more deeply and, as a result, gain a stronger sense of self: a quality that helps all of us navigate our lives with confidence and a sense of inner freedom.

Want to have a deeper understanding of psychodynamic therapy?

For a more in-depth understanding of psychodynamic therapy, I refer readers to The Body, Mind, and Soul in Healing podcast episode in which Dr. Jonathan Shedler (interviewed by Dr. Harvey Schwartz) addresses the question of: “What is psychodynamic therapy, and does it work?” For peer-reviewed articles that address the effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapy, please click here.