Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

The distinct aspect of psychodynamic psychotherapy is that it focuses on the origins of the presenting issue versus other therapy modalities that are focused on the symptoms.

In fact, symptoms (for example, headaches, gastric issues, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and substance use) are understood as expressions of the unconscious.

At its core, psychodynamic therapy explores the characteristics of the self via the processes of self-reflection and self-examination.


  1. Evaluation of childhood experiences with a focus on developmental growth. Psychodynamic therapists examine the past to understand how it may play out in the present.
  2. Understanding the therapeutic relationship is a key tenet. It is through the ‘holding environment’ provided by the therapist that the client can continue their emotional growth.
  3. Exploration of the full range of emotion. Individuals can be more intellectually focused and less in tune with their feelings. The therapist assists the client in developing the language of emotions and having access to the feeling state.
  4. Focus on interpersonal relationships. The understanding of an individual’s quality of attachment to another person is an important function of psychodynamic psychotherapy.
  5. Investigation of the avoidance of distress. This can manifest in missed sessions, being evasive, arriving late, and focusing on external factors rather than the self.
  6. Identification of recurring patterns and themes. The therapist points out repetitive concepts of ‘self’ and ‘other’. For example: Being drawn to emotionally unavailable partners.
  7. Exploration of the inner life via free association. Simply, the therapist encourages the clients to speak freely and to bring their desires, dreams, daydreams, fears, and fantasies to the session.


Ever wonder why you are the way you are? Then you may be a suitable candidate for this introspective style of therapy.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy may not be appropriate for everyone and may not appeal to everyone.  

You may be a candidate if you are:

  1. Seeking to understand yourself and look inward versus outward for answers.
  2. Okay to be uncomfortable in the session.
  3. Not seeking a quick fix and ready to commit to regular treatment.
  4. Not a risk to yourself.