What is psychodynamic psychotherapy?
Psychanalysis means exploration in the human psyche. So, perhaps, psychoanalysis is sometimes something like diving. Freud, the founder of this specific form of therapy, described it as archaeology, but sometimes it might be said that scuba diving is a more appropriate metaphor for this work. Sometimes, and perhaps most of the time, the main part of the process that happens in the room is to watch the depth and think when one is floating (both as a patient and as a psychoanalysis) in a fluidized atmosphere and entirely touched by a combination of emotions that are stirred up in each session by talking and narrations. Being “touched” in the preceding sentence means everything brought up in the session is to be experienced once again and in the room by the patient and the analyst. Based on this, we can infer that by beginning a session, the analytic couple in the room wear their diving suits and begin to experiment and watch. It is usually the patient who determines the pathway and the analyst moves along this very pathway and trying to observe and understand with the patient. As analysts are actually trained in observation which can help identify and understand what they see together.
But what do we see in psychoanalysis? What the patient enjoyed, experienced, suffered, reacted to or to as a whole, their way of being and living has now brought up in the room. We try to form a picture of this way of being and to figure out how it has been formed and how it works. In order to do this, sometimes we will look at something that has happened in the past or recently, and sometimes even we pay close attention to the moment in the room and what is going on between the two people there. Sometimes in this way, we get into the whirlpool and sometimes we see beautiful scenes.
But for what? How does this work? One of the fundamental assumptions of psychoanalysis is that humans are not fully aware of all their choices and decisions. By this definition, most of the time, rather than being active in building our lives, our lives are something that just happen to us, in other words, we are just scenario actors of what has happened to us. Psychoanalysis hopes to go to the backstage, to the command room in order to give us the control of the keys and buttons and also a more active role in rewriting and directing that scenario so as to make a difference in our way of being and living.
Psychoanalysis is one method of therapy and like all others has its own specific characteristics. Perhaps its greatest difference with other methods is in the form of conducting and holding it, in a way that therapeutic roles change in the room; In psychoanalysis, unlike other treatments, the process of improvement and change will happen via a close cooperation of and the connection between the analyst and the patient. Therefore, the therapist does not necessarily determine the course of the treatment; He does not think instead of the patient, does not decide for the patient and does not consult. They try to experience, observe, think, understand and change. The only tool that psychoanalysis uses in its course is the word. In psychoanalysis, we take the path of treatment via words and talking which make us able to go to the depth, experience and understand the complexities.