How I work
Counselling and psychotherapy are different names for very similar ways of helping, sometimes also referred to as "talking therapies". Counselling is usually considered to be more short-term, less intensive, perhaps less formal, while psychotherapy is considered more in-depth, taking years rather than months. My training and experience has enabled me to adjust my style to the individual and I prefer to simply call my work "therapy".
Psychodynamic therapy is rooted in psychoanalysis. It has found a wide variety of applications since the early days of Freud, Jung and their contemporaries. Modern contributions such as Attachment Theory have also added a wealth of research. What most psychodynamic therapies today still have in common is a focus on the unconscious and on interpersonal relationships in the past past and in the present.
In addition to work with the unconscious, external relationships and the influences from the past that shape our "internal world", I am particularly interested in the different "parts" (or sub-personalities) that each of us have within ourselves, born from identifications with important figures in our lives or as responses to powerful life events.
Key to my work is to "listen" with deep empathy to what different parts of you are bringing up in our session and to create some coherence, some dialogue between them.
95% of your mind?
What we really desire and what keeps us from satisfying this desire, may be part of a complicated internal dynamic of which we are often unconscious. Over long periods of time, this can become an ingrained pattern that impacts many areas of our life. We may find ourselves in situations that make us ask: "Why is this always happening to me?" or perhaps even "What is missing or lacking?"
Similarly, some aspects of ourselves, may have been completely overlooked, ignored or even avoided for a long time. These hidden parts tend to find a way of asserting themselves that is less under our control: they can be a source of disturbance but also bring creativity and change.
Expressing states of mind that are initially difficult to give words to, exploring thoughts and feelings ("negative" as well as "positive"), fantasies and dreams (no matter how bizarre) can help us discover who we really are, piece by piece.
The past in the present
Relationships, past and present, involve the main characters in our life stories. In therapy, most problems people present are interpersonal in one or more ways. Therefore, it can be very helpful to look at them with a strong interpersonal focus, including the interaction between us as client and therapist.
Contradictory feelings or repetitive patterns can make relationships difficult. Affection, disappontment, guilt, anger, anxiety and shame arise in all sorts of situations and combinations. This includes the “therapeutic” relationship between us, which allows understanding and insight to emerge.
There is more and more evidence nowadays, that this is exactly where "talking therapies" are most effective: by providing a safe and secure relationship in which these feelings can be explored and understood.
As a result, relationships, to self and others. often do get considerably better.
Evidence shows that the benefits of psychodynamic therapy increase with time and that they bring continued improvement even long after the therapy has ended, reaching beyond symptom relief.
There are some good articles around. The following (available on the internet) are just a few:
• Harvard Mental Health Letter 2010;27:1-3
• Roesler, C. (2013). Evidence for the Effectiveness of Jungian Psychotherapy: A Review of Empirical Studies, Behave Sci (Basel), 2013 Dec; 3(4): 562–575.
• Solms, M (2018) The Scientific Standing of Psychoanalysis. BJPsych, Vol 15 No 1