Karen Potter
Psychotherapy & Mentoring
Lismore, NSW

How Does Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Differ from Other Approaches?

With so many different approaches in therapy these days, it can be hard to know which would suit you and/or your loved one most. Karen Potter has a well-developed understanding of a number of psychological approaches and how each can be helpful. She also believes it is important for clients to know and un­­derstand the approach a therapist will be u­­sing.  As such, this article dives into Karen’s current approach to Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and explains the differences between this approach and two others you may be familiar with – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Psychoanalysis.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy VS Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a very common approach in psychology practices today. CBT focuses on changing unhelpful behaviours and ways of thinking with practical self-help strategies such as mindfulness and journaling. It seeks to understand the connection between thoughts, emotions, and behaviours to resolve anxiety, depression, and other common issues.

CBT can be seen as an approach which seeks to resolve the initial layer of mental health symptoms by changing thought patterns and behaviours.

On the other hand, psychodynamic psychotherapy seeks to gain deeper insight into the underlying issues; such as past experiences that cause these thought processes and behaviours. This is why the psychodynamic approach is considered a more thorough and in-depth process for people who wish to understand their inner world and resolve their issues at the core.

CBT is typically more of a short-term treatment usually lasting eight to 12 sessions, over the course of a few months.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy VS Psychoanalysis

As psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are related and have some similarities, they often get mistaken for one another. However, those who have experienced the two approaches can see they are different in many ways.

In general, both approaches focus on experiences and unconscious processes and both dive into childhood experiences in order to gain a deeper understanding of these.

The main differences between the two approaches are:

  • Psychodynamic therapy is usually considered less intense than psychoanalysis
  • Psychodynamic therapy dives into deep-rooted aspects of the client’s self to heighten self-awareness and self-empowerment.
  • Psychoanalysis is primarily concerned with the unconscious and dreams and in its pure form the only aim is developing a deep insight into oneself
  • The goal of psychodynamic therapy, on the other hand, is not only to gain a greater understanding of oneself; both past and present, but also to work towards developing better ways to manage one’s thoughts, feelings, relationships and life in general
  • Psychoanalysis is usually a longer and more intensive process requiring more sessions per week

Usually, there is no set end date for psychodynamic therapy. It’s often a long-term treatment that can last from several months to many years.

Karen Potter’s Approach

Karen’s way of thinking about clients and the therapeutic process is aligned with the psychodynamic model, however, cognitive and behavioural strategies may be offered, as needed.  This way of working with people aligns more fully with the way she understands the human condition and relationships.

Psychodynamic therapy is insight-oriented, helping clients to understand how early life experiences affect their inner world and their present-day experiences.

If you want to find out more about Karen’s chosen approach of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and how it could work for you, contact Karen to book a consultation and get started. 

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