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My Approach


What Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is …

Going back to the example of the iceberg (see Home Page), the section of ice above the water (the conscious mind) is considerably smaller than the part that lies hidden beneath the surface (the unconscious) and it is the hidden part that causes shipwrecks! 

The aim of psychodynamic psychotherapy is to address the underlying problems (unconscious) so that the surface issues (conscious) can find their own solutions.   We wouldn’t consider putting a sticking plaster over a physical wound that is not healing, especially if the wound is dirty or infected; of course, we would thoroughly clean the wound first and then dress it. 

In therapeutic terms, this involves a process of accepting that we have a personal unconscious and that it has considerable influence over our daily lives; in fact, it is usually the source of our problems. 

When we experience difficult or traumatic events, especially in our early years, our conscious mind simply cannot tolerate the fear, confusion, anger, pain etc that is generated.  Additionally, as children, we don’t have the language to express what we are feeling.  So these emotions get stored away in our unconscious mind until they become one mass of despair and hopelessness. 

We often hear people say, “I feel sad, but I don’t know why.”  This is because, over time, the experiences and emotions get separated in order for us to function normally.   But the painful emotions don’t just go away; they are stored - similar to storing documents in a filing cabinet - until such time as they are “triggered” by a different life event at which time they surface unexpectedly, causing us difficulties.

Through talking, listening and reflecting, psychodynamic psychotherapy helps us to disentangle the feelings into bite-sized pieces that can then be thought about, understood and re-integrated into our conscious mind.  It can be an exciting, if sometimes difficult and painful journey of self-discovery and meaning, but one which provides life-long change for an individual.

and what it's not ...

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is not about the therapist giving you or the young person answers or “things to try at home”.  Of course, such ideas may emerge within the course of the therapy,  but this is usually because they occur naturally within the mind of the client and within the therapeutic relationship and thinking. 


Psychodynamic psychotherapy is not a “quick fix” and is usually best if considered “open-ended”.  However, with this in mind, significant progress can also be made in the short term.

The Therapeutic Relationship

Whether you are coming to therapy yourself or bringing your child to see me, if you decide to engage in this process with me, we are entering into a unique relationship, one which will affect us both in as yet unknown ways.  


Each session is 50 minutes long. We agree on a day and time each week (or more often if necessary) when we will meet and that time is set aside for you.  Psychodynamic therapeutic relationship works on the basis that the therapist will be present in the room at those agreed times even if the client is unable, or chooses not to attend; you will be “kept in mind” even if you are not physically present. 


This is a very important concept in therapy as the “absent client” is still the client and the meaning of the absence can provide useful insight in our work together.  It is for this reason that sessions missed by the client are charged at the full rate (Please click here for fee information.

Unconscious Family Systems

Whether we bring our child, young person or ourselves to therapy, we are usually also bringing an unconscious family system of thought patterns, responses and emotions which are played out in some form within ourselves or our child.  This is why, when working with children, I always meet with the parent(s) first, at least once, before meeting the young person, as it allows us to observe and reflect on these issues at the start.  


It is my experience that this understanding is crucial to a positive outcome of therapy with a young person as, by definition, our children are part of that family system.

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