Often when we experience particularly painful or distressing events or situations in our lives, we unconsciously bury our feelings deep in our minds where they will not have to be faced. Although this is a self-defence mechanism which is essentially intended to protect us, it can do more harm than good and our feelings find their escape anyway, albeit sometimes via more damaging or harmful routes. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a form of short or longer-term therapy which is aimed at encouraging individuals to bring their true feelings to the surface.
Rather than beginning from painful past events, psychodynamic psychotherapy encourages the client to talk freely about whatever comes to mind at that particular moment in time. It focuses mainly on the feelings that the client experiences towards the psychotherapist, as well as towards other people who are part of the client’s life. By expressing and exploring his or her feelings in the present, the patient can be helped by the therapist to understand how current thoughts, feelings and behaviours are not driven by conscious thought, but by subconscious feelings from the past.
Childhood experiences are particularly significant in terms of psychodynamic psychotherapy, because of course these not only colour our present day experience of life, but also have the ability to inform and impact on our futures. As it requires certain levels of introspection, this type of therapy can be particularly useful in providing valuable insights and greater self-awareness which allow individuals to make healthier decisions based on present needs rather than past experiences.