Misconceptions about therapy often lead people to believe that only those labeled as crazy or with deep-seated issues seek help from mental health professionals. This belief is far from the truth. Understanding the intricacies of therapy can be challenging, but it’s important to realize that consulting with a psychodynamic therapist is not exclusive to those with a ‘disturbed’ or ‘disrupted self.’ It’s entirely normal to grapple with feelings of confusion, anxiety, or low moods and find challenges in areas like relationships, family dynamics, or career choices. Such difficulties are part of the human experience. Seeking help, such as Psychoanalysis & Psychodynamic Therapy in Melbourne, is a natural response to these challenges. There’s no specific criteria you must meet. Anyone can benefit from therapy by being open and respectful of the psychodynamic therapeutic process.
With many different approaches to psychotherapy (counselling), Psychologists may choose to use the most effective treatment that suits the issue a client may present with, this may include those that cultivate insight (acquiring understanding and expanding awareness) in conjunction with, or as an aside to, cognitive approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Within the scope of insight therapies, there are two prominent approaches: humanistic, focusing on self-actualization and positive belief, and psychodynamic therapies, in addition to person-centered therapies.
What is Psychodynamic Therapy?
A sub-branch of Psychoanalysis
Psychodynamic therapy owes legacy to Sigmund Freud through the development of a psychological medicine he called, Psychoanalysis, which was one of the first psychotherapeutic approaches. Freud believed that by uncovering the original source of our neurosis (troubled minds), which most often occurs during childhood, we could achieve insight into our unconscious mind, and likewise, by uncovering the unconscious mind, the source of our neurosis may be revealed. Think of it like peeling back the layers of an onion, and with each layer the causes and significance of our symptoms become more and more evident and may eventually disappear as the client learns how to sit with and manage their internal world.
Freud attempted to come up with treatment for our many neuroses, within society and the self. Freud believed analyzing the unconscious mind could help people understand and adapt to reality’s challenges. In psychoanalysis sessions, dreams, fantasies, avoided thoughts, and the therapist-client relationship are explored through free association—speaking freely without censorship. The analyst may identify slips of the tongue or ‘accidents’ revealing unconscious behavior, resistance, or unrealistic expectations. Recognizing these hints, clients collaborate with therapists to address conflicts and unhealthy behavior patterns.
Freud’s work centers on adult relationships shaped by the initial bonds formed with parents. The love learned from parents influences how we navigate sex, love, attachment, and dependence in adulthood. Freud metaphorically likened intimacy issues to the congress between two hedgehogs, expressing the desire for closeness but unable to get too close due to potential prickliness.
Psychodynamic therapy is a modern variation of Freud’s Psychoanalysis. Freud’s original work, with themes of sexuality and aggression for understanding relational dynamics, has evolved in modern mental health therapies. Contemporary approaches prioritize scientific evidence, focusing on personality, future goals, past experiences, cultural and interpersonal influences (including friendships and peers), and behavioral patterns across one’s lifespan. Psychoanalytic themes retained include examining the client-therapist relationship for clues about the client’s unconscious mind, evaluating unrealistic expectations, and considering foundations for attachment, intimacy, avoidance of confrontation, and the ability to speak openly.
Psychodynamic Therapy in Melbourne
Psychodynamic therapy is cost-effective in comparison to psychoanalysis, as it typically won’t require more than 1-2 sessions per week. It is, however, still classed as a long-term therapeutic approach due to the nature of the therapy (recall — “peeling back the layers one by one”)
Psychodynamic therapies effectively address substance abuse, depression, eating disorders, and trauma or adverse childhood experiences. Research has suggested that the effects of psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies may outweigh others types of psychotherapy and antidepressant drugs.
At The Three Seas, we have a number of Psychologists who practice as psychodynamic analysts. If psychodynamic therapy specifically interests you, reach out to our Client Connect Team (CCT). They can schedule an appointment with a suitable clinician for you. The CCT operates Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm. You can contact them at (03) 9809 1000 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.