Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy is a therapeutic treatment that primarily focuses on the interpretation of mental and emotional processes. It shares much in common with psychoanalysis and is often considered a simpler, less time consuming alternative. Like psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy seeks to reveal the unconscious content of a client's psyche in an effort to alleviate psychic tension. Psychodynamic therapy increases a client’s self-awareness and grows their understanding of the influence of the past on present behavior. It allows clients to examine unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from past experiences and explore how they are manifesting themselves in current behaviors, such as the need and desire to abuse substances. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s psychodynamic therapy experts today.

Meet the specialists

I was trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy at the University of Chicago. Psychodynamic therapy, combined with other approaches, such as energy therapy techniques can be very effective in treating a number of conditions. That said, I don't get stuck on one or two approaches. That would be like a medical doctor who only prescibes penicillin. A good therapist needs a lot of tools in his or her toolbox.

— Stephen Finstein, Marriage & Family Therapist in Dallas, TX
 

Using a psychodynamic approach helps clients make connections between past experiences, family history, and present behavior. Sometimes understanding our inner-workings can help us understand our deepest needs.

— Megan McDavid, Sex Therapist in Portland, OR

As clinical fellow at Ann Martin Center for two years, I was immersed in an environment that focused on psychodynamically based treatment of children, adolescents, young adults, and parents. This approach was emphasized in supervision and in an intensive series of seminars.

— Jennifer Trinkle, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Berkeley, CA
 

My training was in intensive psychodynamic psychotherapy, and I consider this experience to have given me the foundation for my theoretical approach. The theories I read and learned have helped to shape my thinking. Many of the workshops, conferences, and more advanced training I have taken have their basis in psychodynamic therapy. My clients come to me with presenting problems that can be related to issues from their childhood. I help them explore these painful patterns, and find resol

— Patricia Field, Clinical Psychologist in Los Angeles, CA
 

I have an attachment-based way of working. This means that I believe that most of the unhelpful patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that we have, began when we were very young. We developed these ways of being in order to cope with whatever we perceived as difficult in our young lives, and it worked! But now we are adults and the old ways have kept us stuck in our relationships and our feelings. We work in therapy to unpack those old ideas and feelings, and find ways to change them so that they work for you in your life the way it is today.

— Amy McManus, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

I was trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy at the University of Chicago. Psychodynamic therapy, combined with other approaches, such as energy therapy techniques can be very effective in treating a number of conditions. That said, I don't get stuck on one or two approaches. That would be like a medical doctor who only prescibes penicillin. A good therapist needs a lot of tools in his or her toolbox.

— Stephen Finstein, Marriage & Family Therapist in Dallas, TX
 

My foundation of therapy training is psychodynamic and attachment based. I can work with CBT and other tools, but I prefer to help clients gain a deep understanding of the mechanism of their own ego and psyche. I teach clients about the impact of unconscious and preconscious aspects of the mind, ego defenses and insight into the workings of their own ego which is based on "want/don't want", or as the Buddhists might put it "desire and aversion". Ego strength is foundational in healing trauma.

— Susan Pease Banitt, in Portland, OR

I was trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy at the University of Chicago. Psychodynamic therapy, combined with other approaches, such as energy therapy techniques can be very effective in treating a number of conditions. That said, I don't get stuck on one or two approaches. That would be like a medical doctor who only prescibes penicillin. A good therapist needs a lot of tools in his or her toolbox.

— Stephen Finstein, Marriage & Family Therapist in Dallas, TX
 

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on unconscious processes as they influence a person’s behavior. Often those processes are defense mechanisms that developed in childhood and which were useful in protecting the child, but in adulthood are in the way. The goal of psychodynamic therapy is to increase awareness of those processes so that they become choiceful rather than automatic. Thus, people become more mature. And, of course, freedom to choose helps to move us toward fulfillment and happiness.

— Michael Johnson, Psychologist in AUSTIN, TX, TX

I was trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy at the University of Chicago. Psychodynamic therapy, combined with other approaches, such as energy therapy techniques can be very effective in treating a number of conditions. That said, I don't get stuck on one or two approaches. That would be like a medical doctor who only prescibes penicillin. A good therapist needs multiple tools in his or her toolbox.

— Stephen Finstein, Marriage & Family Therapist in Dallas, TX
 

My approach is informed by contemporary psychodynamic theory and practice and trauma/attachment research. All is considered through a strength-based lens. The goals of psychodynamic counseling are to increase self-awareness and understanding of how the past influences your present behavior.

— Shannon Gonter, Counselor in Louisville, KY

Psychodynamic psychotherapy Is a modality of "talk therapy" that will help you access the roots of your inner conflicts. Sometimes these conflicts manifest as sadness, anger, or anxiety. At other times, the conflicts reveal themselves through personal and relational patterns that you keep repeating again and again. Psychodynamic psychotherapy requires we meet once or twice a week.

— Edgard Danielsen, Psychoanalyst in New York, NY
 

This approach is something of a look at your personal timeline to connect issues in your life.

— Frank Thewes, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Princeton, NJ
 

I was trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy at the University of Chicago. Psychodynamic therapy, combined with other approaches, such as energy therapy techniques can be very effective in treating a number of conditions. That said, I don't get stuck on one or two approaches. That would be like a medical doctor who only prescibes penicillin. A good therapist needs a lot of tools in his or her toolbox.

— Stephen Finstein, Marriage & Family Therapist in Dallas, TX

In my work with families, I use a psychodynamic orientation, which strives to understand the “why” behind the behavior. This involves bringing unconscious thoughts, feelings and memories to the surface in order to understand how they might be influencing current behavior. It is very common for parents, for example, to be unaware of how their own unmet childhood needs may be influencing their current role as a parent. In addition, it is equally important to seek understanding behind the misbehavior of children, in order to better meet their needs. Understanding alone, however, does not create behavior change. Yet, change is more likely to occur and be sustained when there is insight.

— S. Abigail McCarrel, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Arcadia, CA
 

In psychodynamic therapy, early relationships have a profound impact on how we relate to others and ourselves. Until the destructive patterns of the past are discerningly remembered and emotionally re-experienced to be put into a new perspective, patients will continue to repeat such patterns. As they are recognized, patients can understand the ways in which they avoid distress and utilize defense mechanisms to cope. The therapeutic process is about learning to engage with the truth about who we are and developing a deeper understanding about our flaws, vulnerabilities, and conflicts. The main focus of therapy is to express feelings while also learning to tolerate a wider range of emotions. Ultimately, this helps increase self-esteem and confidence.

— Sweta Venkataramanan, in New York, NY

As a psychodynamic therapist, I use our relationship as a key instrument for behavioral change. Unlike cognitive approaches (CBT) that focus on modifying thoughts, or traditional psychoanalytic approaches that focus on drives, development, and the unconscious, I focus on the here and now of how we're relating during our sessions together. Since I'm not a purist, you'll find me eclectic and flexible.

— Loretta Staples, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New Haven, CT
 

Although people bring in outside problems to me, my training has shown me that what happens between us plays out in the rest of your life. How we are with each other can give you the tools to take with you into the world in order to respond to yourself and others in a deep and meaningful way. I see therapy as a collaboration and an education.

— Gilbert Bliss, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Towson, MD

In Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, we work to understand your internal world. We investigate the multilayered experiences that shape your way of taking in and making sense of the world, mapping the personal landscape through which you experience your life.

— Katherine Friedman, Counselor in Portland, OR
 

I have studied and received consultation on psychodynamic therapy throughout my career. Most people who seek therapy have at least some blind spots regarding how they contribute to their own difficulties. In my experience, psychodynamic therapy is best suited to help people decrease these and improve their relationships and lives.

— Jill Pressley, Counselor in Austin, TX

Psychodynamic therapy helps us understand how our life experiences impact our current behavior and relationships. Often we are unaware of how early experiences have contributed to our sense of self or relationship patterns.

— Sage Grazer, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA
 

This approach to treatment allows me to use various modalities of fundamental thoughts of psychology using Freud and Jung as their pioneers. Exploring the relationships between parents and the child help us to understand some of the fundamental foundations of psyche development. The perception of the the individual with his/her psyche and the connection with the world is extremely important in the new development and awareness of self and its relation with others energies in society.

— Roberto Olivo, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Glendale, CA
 

I have rigorous training in psychodynamic therapy, and while I'm an integrative therapist, I consider this to be the foundation of my work. I believe that in order to create meaningful change in our lives, we need to have insight into our past and present, and the exploratory nature of psychodynamic therapy allows us to do just that. By increasing our self-awareness, we are better able to treat ourselves with compassion and make conscious, informed decision about the best path forward.

— Kendra Kirsonis, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

I offer a short-term, evidence-based, and contemporary form of psychoanalysis called intensive psychodynamic therapy, which has been found effective in helping people improve their relationships, learn to cope with difficult feelings, and manage their anxiety. I also deliver it in short-term (12-20 sessions) and longer term (>1 year) forms. A benefit for some people is that compared to CBT, this form of treatment does not require formal homework. Homework, however, can be added as an adjunct, and in some cases leads to a more effective treatment.

— Daniel Gaztambide, Psychologist in New York, NY
 

Psychodynamic therapy originated from the works of Sigmund Freud in the early part of the 20th century. Freud established the theory that we have defensive structures to manage our strong and sometimes competing impulses and drives. The field of psychodynamics has a unique focus on the importance of the unconscious or subconscious mind, but the field has also evolved to include the importance of relationships in human psychology. Psychodynamic therapy focuses on helping clients to gain insight on unconscious or subconscious influences on current behaviors through insight oriented questions, empathic reflection and interpretations about early relationships.

— Addie Liechty, Clinical Social Worker in Oakland, CA

I use this classic theory when we explore where your behaviors and patterns start from and how they've been reinforced throughout your lifetime. When relevant, we'll unpack some of your past, and use that to guide us to craft the present life you'd like to live.

— Nicole Byrne, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA
 

Some of my clients wish to go deeper than just problem solving, symptom reduction, and skill-building. Employing aspects of psychodynamic therapy, I help people notice and review emotions, thoughts, early-life experiences, and beliefs to gain insight into their lives and present-day problems and to evaluate the patterns they have developed over time. Recognizing recurring patterns can help people see how they avoid distress or develop defense mechanisms to cope so that they can take steps to change those patterns. I draw on several different psychodynamic styles in order to tailor my approach to bet fit and help each individual client.

— Robert Nemerovski. Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist in Kentfield, CA

I have been trained eclectically, but also have an extensive background in psychoanalytical and psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy, especially those that engage the relational dimensions of the process as a focus. Some of my training in this area includes: (1) Participation in a year-long practicum drawing on self-psychology at the Pierce Street Counseling Center, (2) Participation in a two year-long Intensive Study Groups offered by the Northern California Society of Psychoanalytic Psychology, (3) Weekly relationally-oriented group consultation with analyst, Cindy Sachs since 2014, (4) Bi-weekly participation for 10 years in a psychoanalytically-oriented consultation group facilitated by Dr. Robert Carrere, a training analyst at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, drawing from the principles and theories of Modern Psychoanalysis and (5) Completion of a two-year program in supervision at The Psychotherapy Institute.

— Rawna Romero, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Alameda, CA

The why behind why things are the way they are is just as important as finding mechanisms to treat symptoms. Understanding the why of behaviors enables clinicians and patients to explore the connection between past and present behavior while increasing self awareness.

— Diana Hope, Counselor in Mcdonough, GA
 

We are all shaped by our early exposures, and we adapt to our environment to survive as infants and children. Some of these forces are invisible, or impossible to recall, but they influence how we handle adult situations and relationships. Understanding these influences and challenging them so that we can understand out adult world view more fully is the goal of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Understanding leads to change.

— Andrea Rogers, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

I believe each of us is like an iceberg. Most of our psyche is hidden. I believe psychotherapy can help each of us see more of ourselves, and help us make more conscious choices.

— LAKink Shrink, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in West Los Angeles, CA
 

Psychodynamic psychotherapy refers to an approach and theory that assumes that early life experience informs and shapes our current relationships and emotional state. It is loosely related to the theory and practice of psychoanalysis (see below). In psychodynamic therapy, the relationship and interaction with the therapist is seen as a primary mode of effecting positive or developmental change. Therapy tends to involve exploration of both current as well as past experiences, often uncovering aspects of a persons thoughts and emotions that were not fully realized or understood. It is through this new understanding and emotional exploration that negative or stuck states of mind and/or relationships are healed, resolved or developed.

— Bear Korngold, Clinical Psychologist in San Francisco, CA

My approach includes training from a psychodynamic perspective. Within this model, I integrate Cognitive Behavioral therapy as needed.

— Adriane Kruer, Clinical Psychologist in Los Angeles, CA
 

Extensive training in contemporary analytic and interpersonal theory and practice.

— stephanie manes, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New York, NY

Your mind is complex and it is worth being curious about. Genuine change takes place within sincere relationships. Psychodynamic therapy helps people be able to use their willpower in ways that are productive. It also helps them learn from ways they try to help themselves that actually lead to more pain and frustration. It is supportive, honest, engaged, active, and oftentimes scary yet freeing. Research has repeatedly demonstrated it is the therapy of choice for people that want to reduce their symptoms in a lasting way.

— Reid Kessler, Psychologist in Encinitas, CA
 

We all have the right and capacity to feel happy, whole, and free in our lives. But, sometimes we feel stuck, clouded, and confused. Often, we need support to find our way out of difficulty and to rediscover our inner strength. Reaching out for support in the form of psychotherapy is an act of courage and evidence of true strength. My goal is to provide a safe, accepting space to explore what troubles and inspires you. I work with you to reconnect with and cultivate your inner wisdom and strength so you can be free to live your life as fully as possible. My approach is insight-oriented depth psychotherapy, which means I help you gain awareness of your internal and external obstacles in order to promote deep and lasting changes in your life. I draw from psychodynamic, existential, and family systems perspectives as well as attachment theory and interpersonal neurobiology. I believe in your own inner strengths and resources and see my role as supporting the process of eliciting them and integrating them into your present life. Whether you're looking for support and guidance through a difficult time or you're ready to move your life in a new direction, I would be honored to be a part of your healing journey.

— Smadar Salzman, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Psychodynamic therapy is an approach that can help individuals recognize the role relationships play in their experiences, and attempts to help people understand patterns appearing in the thoughts and feelings they have toward themselves.

— Dayna Sharp, Clinical Social Worker in Haddonfield, NJ
 

I believe in the importance of how we were brought up including the circumstances of our family in the broader social context as an important influence in how we are in our current lives. When I was in training in the 1970's this was the standard treatment approach.

— Karin Wandrei, Clinical Social Worker in Rohnert Park, CA
 

Part of the gift of therapy is having the opportunity to get to know yourself at a deep level. I use training in Psychodynamic and Analytical (Jungian) psychologies to help clients develop a deeper knowledge of themselves. Open yourself up to your blind spots and learn to accept the real you.

— Brian Gieringer, Marriage & Family Therapist in Atlanta, GA

I am a classically trained therapist and I specialize in psychodynamic theory. Psychodynamic theory was a focus of mine all through graduate school and I use this theory as a lens into understanding where behaviors, unhealthy and healthy, start from and how they have been reinforced through your lifetime. With a clear understanding of where you come from we can work together to unravel rooted behavior.

— Jeff Guenther, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
 

My theoretical orientation stems from Psychodynamic Theory, where the purpose is to help you identify the root causes of the problems that make it challenging for you to permanently solve them, not just temporarily solve them, as well as to learn to differentiate, which means to tolerate differences in relationships while staying emotionally connected. This sometimes requires us to revisit our family of origin to gain an understanding of how we got from A to B. My goal as a therapist is to facilitate healthy and satisfying relationships, self understanding, spiritual connection, and the process of reaching your full potential. While this can be an extremely challenging task, I am very driven toward facing this challenge as a marriage and family therapist.

— Kathy Hardie-Williams, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Tigard, OR
 

I was trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy at the University of Chicago. Psychodynamic therapy, combined with other approaches, such as energy therapy techniques can be very effective in treating a number of conditions. That said, I don't get stuck on one or two approaches. That would be like a medical doctor who only prescibes penicillin. A good therapist needs a lot of tools in his or her toolbox.

— Stephen Finstein, Marriage & Family Therapist in Dallas, TX

Psychodynamic therapy is, more than anything else, a methodology to create a safe space for you to talk authentically about your full experience in life. We will look at your family-of-origin and will also use the therapeutic relationship in the office to bring to awareness relating and thinking patterns that may be getting in your way. In psychodynamic work we look at transference and explore unconscious processes. You can lie of the sofa if you want but you don't have to!

— Hugh Simmons, Clinical Social Worker in Austin, TX
 

In short, psychodynamic therapy is a modern version of psychoanalysis. The therapist serves less like a "blank screen" but more as a real person that can relate to you. With this approach, you will be supported to express current emotions as well as earlier important life events. Through exploration, you may start to see how past unresolved internal conflicts affect your present life. These insights are likely to greatly inform your personal growth, and I will be your witness and cheerleader.

— Yiwen Fan, Mental Health Counselor in New York, NY

My approach is grounded in depth work and looking into the past as well as the present in order to provide relief and insights into patterns and connections in relationships.

— Sarah Korda, Counselor in San Francisco, CA
 

I draw from a variety of psychodynamic schools and principles. Together, we will explore and process what is deeply affecting, undermining, or otherwise blocking you. Whether we like it or not, an understanding of our past family of origin DOES play a role in who we are. As insights are gained, you can look to consciously deal with certain destructive or dysfunctional patterns. I look to help you put new systems in place (better than goals) that will help you manage your life.

— darrell marsh, in Los Angeles, CA
 

I am psychodynamically trained and attended Smith College School for Social Worker for my Masters in Social Work. I view all of my work through an attachment lens and am relational in style; I encourage my clients to explore the impact of their own early caregiving or traumatic experiences on their parenting style and to look at ways in which re-enactments come up in their lives or in therapy with me.

— Samantha Pugh, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Lafayette, CO