Frequently Asked Questions About A Psychodynamic Therapist

At some point in our lives, we may have experienced stress, anxiety, and emotional distress due to work, relationships, and other factors.

However, these uncomfortable feelings are further amplified in teenagers who are going through adolescence. The changes that are happening to them can be challenging and overwhelming. Without proper guidance and help, they might lead astray.

Typically, the initial response would be to divert the attention to other things so that those may serve as distractions. However, since these negative emotions can impair daily activities, getting a little extra help would surely help.

Even mild symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorder can benefit from therapy.


Different kinds of mental health professionals could help alleviate this condition. If you have a teenager that needs assistance, make sure to seek professional help.

You can go to any of the following: a psychologist, a clinical social worker, medical doctor, or a professional trained to conduct mental health counseling. A psychologist is capable of assessing your child by conducting tests to diagnose the condition.

By determining the condition of your child, the therapist can formulate an effective treatment plan. Often, the most effective treatment is a combination of therapeutic approaches and medications. However, it is a case to case basis since each individual has unique needs.

There are various types of therapies to fit different conditions. One of the known treatments is psychodynamic psychotherapy. This approach addresses how past events and your unconscious thoughts affect your current conflicts. Psychotherapy allows a better understanding of the behaviors, moods, and thoughts.

Planning to seek psychotherapy for you or your loved one? Here are some frequently asked questions to help you start.

What does a psychodynamic therapist do?

A psychodynamic therapist helps patients gain insights into their lives; they tackle everyday problems and evaluate the development of psychological patterns over time.

They review a person’s emotions, thoughts, early-life experiences, and beliefs since psychodynamic therapy deals with interpreting a person’s mental and emotional processes. It focuses on the psychological roots of emotional suffering.

What is an example of psychodynamic therapy?

Psychodynamic music therapy is one approach to psychodynamic therapy. It involves the exploration of various instruments such as guitar, drums, and piano. No musical background is needed; people are encouraged to express themselves through music; however they wish.

What is a psychodynamic approach?

The psychodynamic approach focuses on how a person’s unconscious can affect behavior and feelings. It includes all psychological theories that base human functioning on the interaction of different person’s personality structures.

Who is psychodynamic therapy most beneficial for?

Psychodynamic therapy is beneficial for people with the following mental health conditions:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • panic
  • stress-related physical ailments

Psychodynamic therapy is also found to be effective in addiction, social anxiety disorder, and eating disorders.

What techniques do psychodynamic therapists use?

The following are tools and techniques used commonly in the practice of psychodynamic therapy:

  • Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM) – serves as a framework for understanding and evaluating behavior.
  • Rorschach Inkblots – Shows how a patient interprets and describes the images that they see.
  • Freudian Slip – “Slips” can have deeper meanings.
  • Free Association – An essential tool. A therapist reads a list of words, and the patient is asked to respond with the first word that comes to mind immediately.
  • Dream Analysis

How long does psychodynamic therapy take?

Psychotherapy can be used as a:

  • Short-term therapy – Goal-oriented and may take up to 25 sessions.
  • Long-term therapy – May take two years or more.

What are the weaknesses of the psychodynamic approach?

The following are limitations of the psychodynamic approach:

  • It places too much emphasis on psychological factors. It does not consider how biological or genetic factors contribute to mental health problems.
  • The approach is reductionist. It limits the human mind to the id, ego, superego, and the five psychosexual stages.
  • It ignores mediational processes, such as thinking.

What can I expect from psychodynamic therapy?

In psychodynamic therapy:

  • The sessions are intense and open-ended.
  • Sessions are scheduled once a week and may last an hour per session.

Therapists encourage the patient to talk freely about whatever it is that is on their minds. Based on the patient’s thoughts and feelings, the therapist will identify recurring patterns in their emotions, behaviors, and subconscious mind.

What are the four types of talk therapies?

Talk therapies are psychological treatments for people experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression. The four types of talk therapies are as follows:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you explore your thoughts about your life and change unhelpful behavior patterns.
  • Behavioral activation aims to help people with depression gain motivation and take small steps towards small, positive changes in their lives.
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT) addresses a person’s relationship problems with their family, partner, and friends.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) helps people with PTSD heal from a traumatic event by reprocessing memories of said event.

What are the strengths of the psychodynamic approach?

The psychodynamic approach:

  • helps you focus on your past to understand how it impacts your present behavior
  • helps you recognize how your subconscious impacts your behavior, thereby getting into the deepest portion of you as an individual and heals you inside out.
  • gives you confidence, self-awareness, more profound knowledge of self, and acceptance.

What are the key features of the psychodynamic approach?

The key features of the psychodynamic approach include:

  • The Unconscious Mind – the primary source of human behavior; influences judgments, feelings, or behavior.
  • The Collective Unconscious – unconscious thoughts and feelings can transfer to the conscious mind, causing Freudian slips.

The psyche (id, ego, and superego) – The unconscious (id and superego) is in constant conflict with the conscious (ego), and this conflict creates anxiety.

  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Psychosexual Development
  • Psychosocial Development

What makes the psychodynamic approach unique?

The psychodynamic approach is unique because it assesses a person’s unconscious mind and relates it to their psychological development. The unconscious gives us information about why a person feels what they feel or why they behave how they behave.

How does psychodynamic therapy help anxiety?

Anxiety disorders are treated with medications, psychotherapy, or both. Psychodynamic therapy looks into the

fears, dreams, and desires to assess how a person views the self and others. It also focuses on a person’s defense mechanisms towards stressful situations and thoughts.

How successful is psychodynamic therapy?

Actual studies and scientific evidence have shown that psychodynamic therapy is highly effective as other psychotherapies and have lasting effects on patients.

Is CBT a psychodynamic therapy?

Both CBT and psychodynamic therapy are talk-based therapy and considered the big schools of thought in therapy. They differ from each other in that:

Psychodynamic therapy looks into your past and subconscious to understand your present. The goal of psychodynamic therapy is to help you work towards better understanding your past and present self. The treatment style may be short or long-term.

CBT focuses on finding skill-based solutions to present problems. The goal is to recognize negative thought patterns and to change these behaviors. The treatment style is short term.


Nowadays, people are more open about mental health issues. Society is becoming more accepting towards the subject of mental health and seeking professional help. Regardless of whether your child has a mental illness or merely enduring a bunch of life’s stresses, it can get better by undergoing therapy.

A psychologist, clinical social worker, psychiatrist, or any professional trained to provide therapy can create a holistic approach to your situation. Exploring the different types of therapy applicable can provide better treatments.

As discussed, psychodynamic psychotherapy is among the most widely used approaches. This type works by revisiting early-life experiences, emotions, thoughts, and beliefs. It pays attention to the development of psychological patterns based on the narrations.

This treatment is beneficial to people suffering from depression, anxiety, panic, and stress-related physical disorders.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy can be short-term or long-term, depending on the existing condition. The therapist will utilize techniques to assess the unconscious and behaviors. The therapy involves a lot of talking to delve into the potential roots of the present condition.

This psychotherapy aims to understand why patients feel, behave, and react in a certain way. Building trust and rapport is essential for successful therapy. Furthermore, commitment to the therapy could bring out your determination to get better. In the end, this could bring healing, confidence, self-awareness, and acceptance.

Therapies combined with social support from family and friends are highly effective. In some cases, the doctor would require medications to work alongside the therapy.

Whatever you feel right now does not define you. Do not be afraid to seek help. Trust in yourself. Better days will come. There a better future waiting for you.