Psychodynamic in the Purest Sense of the Term


The origins of the work that I do as a therapist has roots in the Psychodynamic tradition of psychotherapy. More notably, a small movement within this field (two to be precise) that moved away from the old insight oriented and overly past digging schools of therapy to a more moment by moment focus on present felt experience and empathy to lead directly to change.


Because most individuals out there without graduate degrees in clinical psychology may not be familiar with what psychodynamic means, I’ll introduce the term:


Psychodynamic is an umbrella term for a movement in Psychoanalysis, the original movement beginning with Sigmund Freud that founded Psychotherapy. The Psychodynamic approach went away from the old way of laying on a couch and not interacting with the Psychoanalyst, but to sit face to face (a real innovation believe or not, for the 1930’s and 40’s).


They also began to emphasize how the past experiences with early family and caregivers is projected onto the therapist, and therapist relationship.


What I want to put out there is that I personally LOVE the term Psychodynamic. But it unfortunately comes with tremendous baggage. It has a whole way of working and belief systems of what causes problems and what leads to change.


What I strikes me about this term is it broken into two: Psychological-Dynamic… Psychodynamic. Or Psyche-Dynamic.


If I let go of the history and baggage, I feel that this term speaks to the work that I do and is beautifully carried out in this new wave of experiential psychotherapy approaches.


My work and my AEDP approach in general begins from no particular place or theory other than a theory of change and creating a safe and helpful therapeutic working relationship from which this drive to change can occur.


This “gentle experiential” approach to change, in my humble opinion is dynamic, or psychodynamic in the purest sense. Meaning it begins from where the client is and follows their experience wherever it naturally leads.


Some forms of therapy deny the past to focus on the present or future. Some focus on the present. Some focus on the past too much.


My approach respects the dynamics of the person and how organic this work unfolds. Sometimes one’s inner world flows organically without prompting. Sometimes prompting is needed and the past, present, or future is avoided as difficult or painful. Sometimes difficult experiences and emotions are there, sometimes it’s positive or adaptive emotions and experience you want to move towards.


In any case, I consider my work to be psychodynamic in the purest sense in that it works with the flow of the whole person in relation to self and others, past/present/future. The whole body-mind system as is present in the room at any given moment.


This creates an ease in which nothing particularly has to happen and the other’s inner world is not forced into a cramped theoretical box that gets in the way of authenticity, genuineness and the direction of transformation.     


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