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


Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a treatment modality that allows the client and therapist to explore circumstances of the past that may have resulted in struggles of today. Additionally, the intricacies of interpersonal relationships are reviewed, as well the clients biological, psychological and social aspects to their difficulty. The client develops an understanding of the internal or external obstacles to their goals, recognizes them this results in a change. Recent studies of neuroplasticity suggest that as these changes occur small changes in the brain transpire.

— Karen Chambre, Counselor

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

Relationally-focused psychodynamic therapy is one of my primary therapeutic modalities and is an evidence based treatment approach based in depth psychology. This modality is based on the belief that healing happens in the context of relationship, and places particular emphasis on both past and present relationships, including experiences in the therapeutic relationship. I receive ongoing training and consultation in this modality.

— Carolyn Peterson, Counselor in WOODINVILLE, WA

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

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

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 psychodynamic approach will help you be more in tune with your challenging emotions that cause distress or lead to challenges in relationships. Focus is on unearthing patterns of behavior, past hurts, wounds or trauma that might contribute to the current challenges. Through processing these past issues and gaining insight into historical defense or coping mechanisms that aren't valid any longer, clients live a more preferred life with healthier relationships and coping mechanisms.

— Vickie Wagner, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Long Beach, CA

I am a Jungian-oriented Psychoanalyst who focuses on unconscious dreams, symbols and myths to help you find your own unique path toward healing. The experience is dynamic in that we both inform the process and we both have the capacity to experience change in the interpersonal work we encounter together.

— Holly Vollink-Lent, Psychoanalyst in Rochester, NY

I trained under therapists who specialized in psychodynamic theory and found that it was one that really resonated with me. While I do believe that an integrated approach is best, as not every approach works with each person, I have found that Psychodynamic most closely aligns with me.

— Kat Nazaroff, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Houston, TX

Modern Psychodynamic Therapy gets a bad rep but I learned the importance and grace of this type of therapy from a past Supervisor. I use Psychodynamic tenets with clients often, specifically the strength of the therapeutic relationship and how reflection on the past can help us heal for the future.

— Jennifer Kulka, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in San Diego, CA

Psychodynamic therapy is a type of therapy that looks for patterns that aren't serving you well. We'll look for patterns in your relationships, patterns within your family, and even patterns during therapy which can give us insight about what's happening. I recently completed a postgraduate fellowship at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (the largest psychoanalytic institute in the US) to better understand the complicated dynamics that inform all our lives.

— Jon Reeves, Clinical Psychologist in Seattle, WA

Psychodynamic psychotherapy provides the opportunity for you to discuss your emotional concerns in the context of a healing relationship with your licensed psychologist. The psychologist provides emotional support and important insights, which enables you to see your conflicts in a new light and to gradually let go of old patterns of feeling and behaving. My approach is to establish a safe environment through supportive listening and empathy so that you will feel comfortable.

— Miranda Gabriel, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist in Campbell, CA

I received training in psychodynamic therapy at Rose City Center during my time as an associate. This is an insight-oriented approach that helps you gain higher levels of self-awareness. Although I incorporate many theoretical approaches with each client I see, my work is rooted in psychodynamic therapy.

— Cyla Fisk, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Pasadena, CA

With a focus on attachment and how our early experiences impact our current life, psychodynamic therapy allows us to get to the root of the challenge you are facing. The focus here is holistic as we explore relational patterns, fears based on connection with ourselves and others, and how our past has shaped our daily interactions. This type of therapy allows a deeper view into your experience and encourages an understanding of the origins of our belief systems that shape our reality.

— Marissa Brun, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Boulder, CO

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— Lisa Rogers, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in New York, NY

My personal therapy has been psychodynamic and I have practiced in this way for over 25 years. I believe the therapeutic relationship is the catalyst for change and is a container for other relationships to flourish and grow.

— Lisa Knudson, Counselor in Asheville, NC

Psychodynamic therapy, also known as insight-oriented therapy, focuses on unconscious processes as they are manifested in a person’s present behavior. In its brief form, a psychodynamic approach enables the client to examine unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from past dysfunctional relationships.

— Carol Van Kampen, Clinical Social Worker in Huntington Woods, MI

We talk about the present and how to manage your stresses . In addition psychodynamic therapy believes if we explore issues and events from your past this has and will likely impact what is happening to you and how you are experience the present.

— Deborah Hellerstein, Therapist in Chicago, IL

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

Early life experiences impact us deeply, so understanding where you came from and how you got to this place is essential for any meaningful change. And no, I don't think we'll be blaming your parent's for everything that is wrong, but I do think we need to see how early life patterns present themselves in the here-and-now.

— AJ Rich, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

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 use a psychodynamic framework in therapy which means that the therapeutic relationship between the client and practitioner is the grounds for self-discovery, healing, risk-taking, and change. Psychodynamic therapy reminds us that we can't outrun our past and that "nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know" (Chodron). The benefit of therapy is in examining the ways in which our past shapes our present, so we have flexibility in how we chose to respond here and now.

— Olivia Pryor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

Psychodynamic therapy is the place where I most naturally practice and think about people in all our complexities. Looking at the deeper processes that are at work in all of us, exploring how our past relationships and experiences have influenced us, recognizing projection and defenses at work - these are all concepts that I find tremendously helpful in seeing where we get "stuck" and offering paths and insights into how to move forward.

— Kirsti Reeve, Counselor in Royal Oak, MI