Psychodynamic psychotherapy attempts to elucidate the underlying cause of mental and emotional processes. Here, the focus is on past experiences and the unconscious and how they are manifested in an individual’s current patterns of behaviour. This treatment aims to establish greater self-awareness and understanding of the past on present behaviour. Oftentimes, what brings a person to therapy is a symptom (e.g. depression, apathy, anxiety, anger). However, these symptoms often relate to unresolved conflict within the person’s mind, and in this way, they drive the symptoms. In some cases, particularly trauma and early traumatic experiences, it can be particularly useful to understand these processes. This generates context in relation to the present issues as well as an opportunity to resolve their underlying cause.
Oftentimes, symptomatic treatments such as CBT, while helpful and often necessary in the first instance, fail to address the underlying cause of an individual’s issue. In this way, symptomatic treatments can be much like applying a Band-Aid to an infection: The bleeding stops and one feels somewhat better, however the fever continues and emerges in another form later. Understanding the underlying cause and the associated patterns of behaviour that connect with it is commonly very beneficial and provides long-term relief when provided by an expert.
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