Psychodynamic therapy is also called insight-oriented therapy as it aims to bring about self-awareness that leads to conscious self-examination. It seeks to alleviate psychic tension caused by inner conflicts by means of revealing the unconscious content of the client’s mind. It also treats maladaptive functioning shaped by both conscious and unconscious influences through such revelations.
Maladaptive functioning refers to behaviour that hinders an individual from functioning. This includes incessant worry, overblown fears, or abusive behaviour. The purpose of going back in time is to find the place where the client got stuck in a stage of emotional development. Treatment consists of integrating at that point the changes or developments that the client needs to make in order to move forward in his/her psychological development.
In contrast with psychoanalytic therapy, psychodynamic therapy provides more immediate solutions to problems by identifying the main issue to be treated. This central focus must be agreed upon by both client and therapist. It allows both of them to address only that area and aim at a goal, such as a specific change in behaviour. This leads to quicker results and, thus, a shorter duration of treatment.
As in all psychotherapeutic treatments, psychodynamic therapists refrain from advising their clients on what to do. The ultimate goal of these procedures is to assist the client in finding his/her own way to recovery through self-discovery.