As the oldest of modern therapies, psychodynamic therapy is based on a highly developed and multifaceted theory of human development and interaction. Psychodynamic therapy is an insight-oriented approach that focuses on unconscious emotions that manifest in behavior.
The psychodynamic approach is well suited for couples in counseling because it helps to identify emotions that manifest in behavior, it allows the focus of the sessions to be on the unique situation of each individual client, and it takes into account how past relationship experiences affect current relationships.
One of the main goals of psychodynamic therapy is client self-awareness and understanding of how the past can influence present behavior. It can help work through past conflicts as well as issues arising from past dysfunctional relationships. It is derived from the psychoanalytical method that Sigmund Freud discovered. Freud understood that the human mind or psyche was made up of several different levels and that it is the unconscious mind that contains events from our past. He felt that forgotten experiences can still affect our present behavior. In order to treat this, Freud developed a method by which memories and associations could be brought to the surface and examined in order to modify cour current behavior.
Although Freud was an early pioneer in the field, the actual principles of psychodynamics were first introduced in 1874. A German scientist named Ernst Wilhelm von Bruce published Lectures on Psychology in which he suggested that all living organisms are energy systems and that they are governed by the principle of energy conservation. The conservation of energy principle states that energy can change from one form to another but it can never be destroyed. Later that year, Freud adopted the concept and application of psychodynamics to aid his own concept of the human psyche. This was later developed further by Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Otto Rank, and Melanie Klein.
The therapeutic relationship in psychodynamic counseling is based on acceptance, empathy, and understanding, with an emphasis on developing a good working alliance that fosters trust. This relationship creates a safe environment that promotes healing.
If you feel you need couples counseling to become closer to or better understand your partner, please contact Jennifer De Francisco, MPA, MSW, LCSW of Newport Beach, CA at (949) 251-8797.