What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy draws explicitly on Psychoanalytic theory. Historically the terms Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy have been used interchangeably. Illustrating this point, in the past the Victorian Institute of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (VAPP) in Melbourne was used the name the Victorian Institute of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. This change occurred in part to make a clear distinction between the traditional definitions of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, and Psychological practices that use the term Psychodynamic therapy to describe therapeutic strategies that place greater importance on the significance of the therapeutic relationship and  experiences from early childhood experiences than that placed by cognitive and behavioural therapies.

How does Psychodynamic Psychotherapy work at MCPC? 

At the Melbourne Centre of Psychotherapy and Consultancy we define Psychodynamic Psychotherapy as it has been defined throughout history. We recognise that it is grounded in psychoanalytic concepts and practice. In this way we have been described as delightfully ‘old school’. This rich history of Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic therapy has been studied, understood, and applied to our work with patients. While we are thrilled that so many Psychologists are putting more emphasis on early childhood experiences and on the therapeutic relationship, we do not wish to water down or rebrand this beautiful way of exploring and assisting our patients to navigate their inner worlds.

Working in this way requires considerable clinical experience. The MCPC practitioners that utilise Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytic modalities are experienced practitioners. 

What does Psychodynamic Psychotherapy look like in practice?

Through Psychodynamic Psychotherapy unconscious conflicts that underlie patient’s symptoms are revealed and resolved. 

In contrast to traditional Psychoanalysis, where the patient lies on the couch, there is more interaction between the practitioners and both the practitioner and the patient sit on chairs.

Who are the central theorists of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

The psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theory that has shaped Psychodynamic Psychotherapy in particular includes the work of Melanie Klein & Wilfred Bion: 

Melanie Klein

Melanie Klein is one of the primary founders of object relations theory. Klein recognises that all individuals have an internalised and predominantly unconscious realm of relationships to the world around them and other individuals. In psychodynamic psychotherapy, there is consequently a significant emphasis on the interactions an individual has with others and how these interactions are internalised.

For more information see here and here

Wilfred Bion 

Melanie Klein was the training analyst of Wilfred Bion. He further developed her notion of projective identification. Amongst other influential concepts Bion developed the notions of the container-contained, attacks on linking, and basic assumptions. 

For more information about Bion see here