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What Is Dynamic Psychotherapy?

Andrew Kirmayer
Updated May 17, 2024
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Dynamic psychotherapy generally addresses the link between conscious awareness and feelings brought on by impulses. A therapist usually tries to find a connection between how someone feels and how it affects relationships he or she has with other people. Typically, the feelings and problems of the present are the focus of treatment rather than those of the past. The practice of dynamic psychotherapy often results in faster progress than in other types of psychotherapy which may last for longer periods of time.

Sometimes people who have been in therapy for as long as a few years, and do not have resolutions to a problem, seek dynamic psychotherapy. The treatment period is often shorter, which can make it less expensive. During the sessions with a dynamic psychotherapist, issues such as relationship problems as well as anxiety and low self-esteem are often addressed. Uncertainty with career choices and problems at work or school may be discussed as well.

Other types of dynamic psychotherapy can focus on emotional issues like those resulting from trauma. Emotional problems that lead to physical symptoms are often targeted during therapies which focus on repressed or avoided feelings. A therapist will typically look for physical signs this is occurring, but usually explains to the patient what the nature of the treatment is beforehand. Some forms of short-term treatment involve videotaping sessions between a therapist and client.

Many dynamic psychotherapy professionals are willing offer advice to patients regarding their school or career. It is typically provided based on the needs of the person. The values of the therapist are generally avoided, but encouragement is usually given. A traditional psychotherapist, in contrast, often only asks one to express his or her feelings on the matter.

The relationship between a patient and therapist in dynamic psychotherapy is often a focus of treatment sessions. Patients can develop feelings of transference toward the therapist, including elements of trust and a need to be understood. Therapists often try to make connections between how these feelings correspond to someone’s relationships, for example. Negative emotions which are often felt in relationships can be pointed out, and the therapist may guide one in how to express these.

Dynamic psychotherapy often takes place during sessions that last about an hour. An understanding of psychological symptoms, similar expression of values between the therapist and client, and a person’s ability to interpret suggestions usually help dynamic psychotherapy to be more effective. It is typically beneficial to commit to an agreed upon number of sessions. Ending the therapy after one or two times is generally not enough to resolve a problem.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Andrew Kirmayer
By Andrew Kirmayer , Former Writer
Andrew Kirmayer, a freelance writer with his own online writing business, creates engaging content across various industries and disciplines. With a degree in Creative Writing, he is skilled at writing compelling articles, blogs, press releases, website content, web copy, and more, all with the goal of making the web a more informative and engaging place for all audiences.

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Andrew Kirmayer

Andrew Kirmayer

Former Writer

Andrew Kirmayer, a freelance writer with his own online writing business, creates engaging content across various...
Learn more
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