How does psychodynamic psychotherapy work?
Kirsty Passmore and Wai-Ching Leung explain what is involved in this form of “talk therapy” and why you should know about it
Psychoanalysis never ceases to fascinate people, particularly in America where there is a great demand for therapy. In traditional psychoanalysis, patients attend between twice to five times a week. As this is rarely feasible in the NHS, a similar though less intensive form of therapy, “psychodynamic psychotherapy,” is usually offered. Students almost never have the opportunity to observe psychodynamic psychotherapy in action, as observers are never allowed. However, as future doctors, it is important to have a basic understanding of how it works and to be able to make appropriate referrals.
There are many types of psychotherapies (“talking therapies”). At one extreme, some focus entirely on what we do and not what we feel--for example, behavioural therapy. Other therapies focus on what and how we think--for example, cognitive therapy. By contrast, psychodynamic psychotherapy focuses on how we feel and how our mind works. Although we sometimes jokingly claim to have