The word psychodynamic refers to the idea that our psyche (mind/emotions/spirit/self) is constantly and actively relating with aspects of our internal and external worlds. This dynamic may be taking place on a conscious and unconscious level and contain elements of our experiences, perceptions and relationships formed throughout our lives. For example, the way we respond to an experience of loss or bereavement in the present may connect us with past experiences of separation and loss in its many shapes and forms. Psychodynamic therapy is not ‘done’ to another but is a collaborative approach between two people in the room – the client and therapist. As well as paying close attention to everything that the client communicates, the therapist also pays attention to feelings and thoughts evoked in themselves as part of the work. The therapeutic relationship between the client and counsellor provides a ‘here and now’ way of getting in touch with how we relate to aspects of ourselves and others.
As a psychodynamic counsellor, I consider someone’s entire life experience to be important. I aim to help clients make greater sense of their current situations and of the feelings and thoughts evoked by them. Although the focus will be on the present this may or may not lead us into experiences, memories and feelings from the past. I encourage clients to say whatever comes to mind in sessions and not feel they need to arrive with something particular to say. Everything you bring is important in our work together. I like to enable clients to work in ways that feel most comfortable for them. Some clients find it difficult to express themselves with words alone and may choose other means of expression and exploration such as writing, photography, painting, drawing, or working with clay. The way I work naturally adapts to the age of the client I am working with and for young children I offer a much more creative and play-based approach.
Clients of all ages sometimes find the process difficult or strange at first, but they soon settle into the rhythm of the weekly sessions as they start to feel safe with me and allow themselves to make the most of having a therapeutic space just for them.