Here is my conception of how psychodynamic psychotherapy functions: two individuals come together for the purpose of deepening an understanding of both the self and the other in a reflective, relational space that holds at its core a curiosity towards how we experience inner life and what influences have shaped our sense of identity. For the one seeking therapy, there has often been an encounter or experience that has threatened, altered, or overwhelmed a sense of integrity and stability.
There are also less articulated experiences that drive a person towards seeking therapy. I would describe the latter as a kind of subtle stirring within the self to move towards the unknown, to seek understanding beyond one’s current predicament. No matter the happening that moves someone towards therapy, I believe there is a deep-seated momentum within the psyche that strives towards wholeness often despite our rational framings or intellectualizations.
When we are with another, we are acted upon in ways that may struggle to reach the worded dimension and yet, these articulations of unconscious and somatic life are present without effort or labour. Without reflection or consideration, these states of being may pass from our conscious awareness and find expression through more circuitous routes. Over time, these habituated, calcified remnants of our past may inhibit our ability to grow or cultivate new ways of being in our lives. In inquiring into inner life, we discover the multitudes contained within—a matrix of relationships, varying hotspots of developmental triumphs and misattunements, creative expanse and mythic realms, as well as a myriad of somatic instincts, all rising and falling, emboldened and stymied by our habituated patterns and methods of relating. Like a probiotic, psychotherapy works to metabolize life experiences so that we may have more conscious choice around what consumes us.
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