Kirsten Heynisch

Chartered Clinical Psychologist & Psychotherapist

Chiltern Psychology

& Psychotherapy Practice

What is psychoanalytic/ psychodynamic psychotherapy?
Psychoanalytic & dynamic therapy draw on theories and practices of analytical psychology and psychoanalysis. It is a therapeutic process which helps patients understand their difficulties by increasing awareness of their inner world and its influence on relationships both past and present. It differs from most other therapies in aiming for deep seated change in emotional development and maturity.

It aims to help people with serious psychological problems to understand and change complex, deep-seated and often unconsciously based emotional and relationship problems, thereby reducing symptoms and alleviating distress. However, the role of psychodynamic therapy is not limited only to those with psychological and mental health problems. Many people who experience a loss of meaning in their lives or who are seeking a greater sense of fullfilment may be helped by this approach.

Psychoanalytic & dynamic therapy provide an effective treatment for a range of psychological problems such as eating disorders, obsessional thinking and behaviours, or phobic anxieties. It can also be effective with more general underlying feelings of depression or anxiety, difficulties in concentrating, dissatisfaction in work or a difficulty to form healthy and supportive relationships. This therapeutic approach can contribute significantly to patient's mental and physical health, to their sense of well-being and to their ability to manage their lives more effectively.

The relationship with the therapist is a crucial element in psychodynamic therapy. The therapist offers a setting which facilitates a process where unconscious patterns of the patient's inner world become reflected in the patient's relationship with the therapist (transference). This process helps patients gradually to identify these patterns and, in becoming conscious of them, to develop the capacity to understand and change them.

Occasionally, the treatment might be of short duration but generally speaking psychoanalytic psychotherapy is best considered as a long-term treatment involving considerable commitment for both patient and therapist.

Whether psychoanalytic & psychodynamic psychotherapy is the treatment of choice for a particular individual depends on a variety of factors. It is often helpful to have one or more preliminary consultations before deciding whether psychoanalytic psychotherapy is an appropriate treatment for the person concerned.