Psychodynamic therapy deepens and enlivens our understanding of ourselves and those around us, and invites curiosity into our experience.
In this therapy, we access our underlying beliefs, assumptions and feelings about ourselves and others and examine them in detail. We learn that our unacknowledged feelings and beliefs have a profound impact on the choices we make, the safety strategies we use, and on the kind of relationships that we have with ourselves and with others.
Through exploration, we become increasingly aware of our tendencies, including those that keep us stuck and further from the life we desire. We learn that firmly held beliefs about ourselves and others have a context. We come to understand that we often uphold these (negative) beliefs (often without awareness) through our actions and/or stagnation.
As such, in this therapy, we bring those beliefs, feelings and assumptions, into consciousness. We gently hold, understand and modify them, finding new ways to respond and relate to them. We do this, even though it is painstaking, because it frees us from their incredible hold over our us.
In psychodynamic therapy, we also analyze the relationship between patient and therapist. We understand that the therapeutic relationship is the vehicle for deep change and growth. Much of our trauma is rooted in the interpersonal experience, therefore our healing must focus on building safety, trust, healthy boundaries, and connection. Mutual discussion of these constructs and all that unfolds in the room between patient and therapist is encouraged as it helps us understand, improve and work through those long-standing interpersonal patterns and traumas.
With each impasse and reenactment, the patient with the help of the therapist, discovers new and more adaptive ways of relating. The relationship becomes a kind of think tank, where new and more connected ways of relating with ourselves and others are practiced and their impact discussed. This careful exploration leads to important insights and allows for deep interpersonal transformation.
Taken together, psychodynamic therapy is about great courage and healing, and connecting, both in the therapy room and outside with supportive others. It’s about taking action, and pacing ourselves while implementing positive changes in our lives.
Dr. Ariela Bellin is a Licensed Psychologist in Brooklyn, New York.