What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy? (Pros & Cons)

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Published Date|
December 3, 2022

What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy? (Pros & Cons)


Do you ever feel like you’re getting stuck in the past?


Sometimes, nostalgia can be a good thing. It can feel nice to reminisce on old times with old friends and revisit pleasant memories.


Other times, it can feel like your past experiences are holding you back from your future goals.


Psychodynamic Psychotherapy helps you understand how the past influences your present behaviour to help you move forward.


Psychodynamic Psychotherapy can be a great choice when treating anxiety, depression, and more – but will it be a good choice for you?


Here at KMA, we are passionate about helping you get the most out of life. For over 14 years, we’ve matched clients with their best-fit therapists to help them reach their goals.


We’re here to help you learn about various forms of therapy – and how to know which one might be best for you.


By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of what the Psychodynamic Psychotherapy process looks like, its pros and cons, and alternative options.


What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?


Psychodynamic Therapy helps you to build self-awareness and understand how your past experiences influence your present behaviour.

You may still be holding on to past conflicts from your relationships. Whether these conflicts happened with romantic partners, family members, or friends, they can cause symptoms that interfere with your daily life.


Your therapist will help you examine these relationship patterns and figure out how to resolve them.


What Happens During Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?


During Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, the therapeutic relationship is the foundation of your work.


It’s common to experience transference - when you project your feelings or emotions from a significant person in your life onto your therapist. You then interact with your therapist how you would with that person.

For example, you may have people-pleasing tendencies that stem from your relationship with your mother. Speaking to a female therapist may evoke similar feelings, leading you to say what you think your therapist wants to hear.


While there is some controversy about whether transference is helpful, the transference process can help you explore and understand your emotional responses. 

For example, if a specific conversation with your therapist creates excessive anxiety, this may present an opportunity for discussion and an area to heal.

What issues does Psychodynamic therapy help with?

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Family Issues
  • Past Abuse or Trauma
  • Relationship Counselling


Pros of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy


Psychodynamic psychotherapy can be effective for many issues and support people experiencing multiple symptoms. It can help you become more aware of the root cause of your behaviours.


Psychodynamic Therapy may be an excellent choice for you if:

  • You’re interested in exploring childhood experiences
  • You have unresolved feelings about past relationships
  • You place a high value on a deep relationship with your therapist


Cons of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy


Psychodynamic psychotherapy is more flexible than traditional forms of therapy, but it’s also less structured.


And while transference can be helpful, it may interfere with the therapeutic relationship.


For example, anger toward someone from your past expressed as hostility toward your therapist can be an additional challenge to overcome.


Psychodynamic Therapy may not be the right choice for you if:

  • You prefer a clear and structured therapy process
  • You like to measure your progress with specific goals and outcomes
  • You prefer specific exercises or action items throughout the therapy process  

psychodynamic therapy pros and cons

Alternatives to Psychodynamic Psychotherapy


After learning more about the pros and cons of Psychodynamic Therapy, you may be interested in alternative options.


Alternatives to Psychodynamic Therapy include:


These therapy options allow you to set measurable goals and may have a shorter time frame than Psychodynamic Therapy.


Next Steps For Psychodynamic Psychotherapy


After reading this article, you now understand Psychodynamic Therapy, its pros and cons, and some alternative therapy options to explore.


Here at KMA, we are passionate about ensuring your therapy process is customized to your unique challenges. We’ve been matching clients with their ideal therapists for over 14 years.


Your introductory appointment will match you with your ideal therapist and determine if Psychodynamic Psychotherapy or another choice will work best for you.


Register online to book an introductory appointment, or contact us directly for more information.


If you’re not yet ready to connect with our team, read these resources for more information:

About the Author

Emily Weatherhead has a Masters in Community Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University, where her research focused on improving post-secondary student mental health. She is passionate about finding new ways to make mental health research more accessible and break down the barriers that prevent people from receiving mental health care.

Author |
Emily Weatherhead (Guest Author)
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