Psychodynamic psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a form of depth psychology, the primary focus of which is to reveal the unconscious content of a client's psyche in an effort to alleviate psychic tension. [ [ psychodynamic psychotherapy] - ""] In this way, it is similar to psychoanalysis, however, psychodynamic therapy tends to be more brief and less intensive than psychoanalysis. It also relies on the interpersonal relationship between client and therapist more than other forms of depth psychology. In terms of approach, this form of therapy also tends to be more eclectic than others, taking techniques from a variety of sources, rather than relying on a single system of intervention. It is a focus that has been used in individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, family therapy, and to understand and work with institutional and organizational contexts. Fact|date=June 2007


The principles of psychodynamics were first introduced in the 1874 publication "Lectures on Physiology" by German scientist Ernst Wilhelm von Brücke. Brücke, taking a cue from thermodynamics, suggested that all living organisms are energy systems, governed by the principle of energy conservation. During the same year, Brücke was supervisor to first-year medical student Sigmund Freud at the University of Vienna. Freud later adopted this new construct of “dynamic” physiology to aid in his own conceptualization of the human psyche. Later, both the concept and application of psychodynamics was further developed by the likes of Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, and Melanie Klein [Horacio Etchegoyen: "The Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique", Karnac Books ed., New Ed, 2005, ISBN 185575455X] .


Most psychodynamic approaches centered around the concept that some maladaptive functioning is in play, and that this maladaption is, at least in part, unconscious. The presumed maladaption develops early in life and eventually causes dissonance in day to day life. The psychodynamic therapist first intervenes to treat the discomfort associated with the poorly formed functionFact|date=June 2007, then helps the client acknowledge the existence of the maladaption, while working with the client to develop strategies for change.

Core Principles and Characteristics

Although psychodynamic psychotherapy can take many forms, commonalities include [cite book |last=Sundberg |first=Norman |title=Clinical Psychology: Evolving Theory, Practice, and Research |publisher=Prentice Hall |location=Englewood Cliffs |year=2001 |isbn=0130871192 ] :
* An emphasis on the centrality of intrapsychic and unconscious conflicts, and their relation to development.
* Seeing defenses as developing in internal psychic structures in order to avoid unpleasant consequences of conflict.
* A belief that psychopathology develops especially from early childhood experiences.
* A view that internal representations of experiences are organized around interpersonal relations.
* A conviction that life issues and dynamics will re-emerge in the context of the client-therapist relationship as transference and counter-transference.
* Use of free association as a major method for exploration of internal conflicts and problems.
* Focusing on interpretations of transference, defense mechanisms, and current symptoms and the working through of these present problems.
* Trust in insight as critically important for success in therapy.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Psychotherapy — is an interpersonal, relational intervention used by trained psychotherapists to aid s in problems of living. This usually includes increasing individual sense of well being and reducing subjective discomforting experience. Psychotherapists… …   Wikipedia

  • Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual — The Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM) is a diagnostic handbook similar to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The PDM… …   Wikipedia

  • Integrative Psychotherapy — involves the fusion of different schools of psychotherapy.BackgroundInitially, Sigmund Freud developed a talking cure called psychoanalysis; then he wrote about his therapy and popularized psychoanalysis. After Freud, many different disciplines… …   Wikipedia

  • Intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy — (ISTDP) is a form of short term psychotherapy developed through empirical research by Habib Davanloo, MD. This article is an introductory overview; those who wish to investigate further are referred to Davanloo s Intensive Short Term Dynamic… …   Wikipedia

  • Forensic psychotherapy — is the application of psychological knowledge to the treatment of mentally disordered or mentally ill patients, sometimes as the result of a court order, who commit violent or destructive acts against others, though sometimes they might harm… …   Wikipedia

  • Interpersonal psychotherapy — (IPT) is a time limited psychotherapy that focuses on the interpersonal context and on building interpersonal skills. IPT is based on the belief that interpersonal factors may contribute heavily to psychological problems. It is commonly… …   Wikipedia

  • Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Therapy — The Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Therapy (CAPT) is a national not for profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness of psychodynamic psychotherapy as a discipline and to advancing the interests of its membership.CAPT was founded… …   Wikipedia

  • Group psychotherapy — is a form of psychotherapy in which one or more therapists treat a small group of clients together as a group. The term can legitimately refer to any form of psychotherapy when delivered in a group format, including Cognitive behavioural therapy… …   Wikipedia

  • History of psychotherapy — Although modern, scientific psychology is often dated at the 1879 opening of the first psychological clinic by Wilhelm Wundt, attempts to create methods for assessing and treating mental distress existed long before. The earliest recorded… …   Wikipedia

  • Positive psychotherapy — is a psychodynamic method of psychotherapy founded by Dr. Nossrat Peseschkian in 1968 in Germany. It is based on a positive conception of humanity, and has an integral and holistic approach. It is today spread in many countries. The main center… …   Wikipedia