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Psychodynamic Therapy: How Analyzing Your Past Can Help You In The Present

Sigmund Freud is to mental health what Galileo is to astronomy - but that's not the praise many think it is.

Galileo, it's true, was a pioneer of telescopic observation. He was an important step in the development of the study of space and celestial objects.

But he was altogether wrong about many aspects of the universe: He thought, for example, that ocean tides were the result of Earth jostling about on its journey around the sun - a concept that back then seemed reasonable enough but that now is almost laughable in its wrongness. Tides are caused by the moon's gravitational pull on the Earth.

He also believed that comets were not celestial objects careening through the solar system, but that they were smudges or disturbances in Earth's atmosphere. That he failed to notice that comets' tails always point away from the sun is curiously inept for a man so often called a genius.

Freud, in the same way, developed many theories that we now scoff at in our modern scientific superiority. His theory of psychosexual development, for example - that people become "stuck" in phases of development during childhood and that they develop related sexual desires in adulthood - is simultaneously incorrect and, if we're honest, kind of gross.

But, like Galileo, he did at least make what was back then an honest effort in developing the science. And like Galileo and his popularization of the telescope, modern psychologists can still use some of the tools that Freud developed.

One application of such a tool is psychodynamic therapy - the process of analyzing events during childhood and revealing or inferring how they may be causing distress and behavioral patterns in adulthood.

Psychodynamic therapy has shown clinical effectiveness in many academic studies, making it evidence-based and scientific.

Let's learn about this form of therapy and determine whether it may be right for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Psychodynamic therapy asserts that a patients past impacts how they think and feel today.
  • By analyzing and addressing past events, a psychodynamic therapist can often reduce distress in the present and future
  • A psychodynamic therapy session involves an analysis of the patients past as well as how those memories are affecting them today.

Skip to a section:

What is psychodynamic therapy?

How long does psychodynamic therapy take?

Does psychodynamic therapy work?

Psychodynamic Therapy in Brooklyn: Williamsburg Therapy Group

What is psychodynamic therapy?

It's logical to assume, and it's in fact backed by science, that what happens to us when we are children often affects how we think and feel as adults.

One common example of this is money habits.

Someone who grew up with consistent and, for the purposes of going to the mall with friends or buying a video game, unlimited access to money will almost certainly spend and save differently than someone who had to eat ketchup sandwiches for dinner three nights a week.

The former has an ingrained sensation of monetary abundance: saving each dollar is significantly less important to them than it is for someone who has learned from childhood that dollars must be collected and protected in order to make rent.

Psychodynamic therapy uses this idea during sessions in order to analyze a patient's childhood experiences and make inferences and observations about how those experiences may be affecting their day-to-day life and causing distress.

A psychodynamic therapist observes a patient's current concerns and then asks about their past, making connections between the two.

Definition Template (13)-1

How long does psychodynamic therapy take?

Psychodynamic therapy, unlike more stratified forms like cognitive-behavioral therapy, can last as long as is needed for the patient to arrive at a place of peace and healing.

Typically, 15 to 20 sessions are enough for this to happen. However, some patients - particularly those with more complex issues or troubled and traumatic childhoods - can last for several years.

Does psychodynamic therapy work?

Exactly what to expect for your journey in psychodynamic therapy depends on your presenting issues.

For mild to moderate anxiety, you can likely expect to first analyze any current events or experiences that cause the anxiety to spike, and then explore why, and what childhood experiences, are causing those spikes.

You may also, in the case of generalized anxiety disorder, start with childhood analysis.

For example, if you have mild anxiety that gets worse when your rent date comes - even though you are in a position financially to comfortably afford it - your therapist may inquire about how your family managed their finances when you were a child.

If your presenting issue is severe, chronic, and complicated in a way that makes its current contributing factors hard to pin down, your therapist may start with a significant analysis of your treatment as a child: Were you abused? Did you have many friends? How was your relationship with influential adult figures?

No one's experience in psychodynamics is the same as any other - but that's part of the benefit.

In having the freedom to tailor sessions to a patient's specific needs, both in terms of communication and content, therapists who practice psychodynamic therapy are often better able to determine how a client truly thinks and feels and adjust sessions to match it.

Psychodynamic Therapy in Brooklyn: Williamsburg Therapy Group

If you are feeling distress in your day to day life and sense that psychodynamic therapy may help, we would be honored to hear from you.

Our team consists of doctoral-level psychologists and therapists who maintain an unparalleled level of experience and expertise in their respective specialties.

The single most important aspect of successful psychodynamic therapy is the relationship and, specifically, the trust between therapist and patient. Therefore, finding the right therapist for your needs is absolutely crucial.

Normally, this first step requires calling around to many different therapist's offices, trying to find a therapist that suits your needs in terms of gender, age, appearance, and personality.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, we staff our team not only with the best therapists possible, but also with a diverse array of race, age, and gender so that we can offer therapy to those who need it, regardless of their needs.

How do you find the best WTG therapist for you? There are two ways:

  1. Visit our team page, complete with photos, bios, and available times for each therapist, and browse on your own or
  2. Give us a call, and our patient coordinator will work with you to find the right therapist for you.

Finding therapy shouldn't be a burden. With Williamsburg Therapy Group, feeling better is closer than you think.

Book a Therapy Session in Brooklyn Today

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