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  • Writer's pictureMaria Alda Gomez Otero

Psychodynamic Approach to Counselling

You will find different approaches to #counselling in Devon. Some counsellors use the existential approach, others core-processing psychotherapy and some work with movement, such as dance movement therapists. If you are looking to get help through counselling in Devon, a good way to start finding a counsellor is becoming familiar with the different approaches and maybe experiencing one or two sessions with a counsellor and see if their approach works for you. Having worked in Ireland previously, I’ve been counselling in Devon for three years. Because I am an integrative counsellor, I use different approaches. One of them is the #psychodynamic approach.

The psychodynamic approach stems from the work of Sigmund #Freud. Freud created #psychoanalysis, which evolved into different branches. One of them is psychodynamic counselling. “The aim of psychodynamic counselling is to help clients achieve insight and understanding around the reasons for their problems, and translate this insight into a mature capacity to cope with any future difficulties.” (McLeod, J. 2003)  It is thus about becoming more aware of one’s own difficulties and the origin of those. According to Freud, we all have that knowledge in our unconscious, where it is hidden from us. Psychodynamic counsellors aim at interpreting signals in their patients’ behaviour, body language, or words that may help them to make conscious what was hidden to them.

The psychodynamic approach believes that we hide the unconscious knowledge by creating defences in our childhood: denial (negating information and delete from awareness), repression (forgetting information and eliminate from awareness), projection (attributing to another one’s own issues), etc. The defences were created within our first intimate relationship with our mothers or caregivers to protect us from unbearable feelings. When we grow up, we may act in ways that we cannot explain and we are unsure why we do what we do, potentially creating havoc in our lives.

The psychodynamic approach uses the relationship between therapist and patient to be able to bring to light these defences that have been hidden for years. Once you have a glimpse of the defences you use, causing your difficulties, you are on the right way to replacing them for more mature ones. As adults, a lof of the defences created are no longer needed, and with the help of a counsellor, they can be left behind once and for all.

In my work, I keep the psychodynamic theories in mind in my aim to understand the person in front of me, but I try not to limit myself by literally following any specific approach, as I believe that counselling is a fluid process that may require different approaches at different times, depending on what the issue at hand is.

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