What is Individual Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

This a one-to-one talking therapy which attempts to explore and understand the relationships of early years, as well as the current situation. It includes looking at the relationship as it happens in the consulting room. Both conscious and unconscious processes are worked with during the treatment. Individual psychotherapy aims to provide a therapeutic space where you can discover and develop a greater capacity to be self-reflective – to look more deeply upon your ‘self’ – explore personality and relationship issues and, in the process, construct new ways of understanding the problems you are encountering. The assumption behind this treatment is that new understandings of yourself may offer you greater choice about how to alter your life situation.

Length and frequency of the sessions?

The sessions will usually be once a week for 50 minutes. The dates of the sessions will be agreed with you at your first meeting. It is important for your own progress that you attend regularly, so holidays should be arranged with this in mind. Since your problems have been many years in the making, it will obviously be necessary to attend the therapy for some time if any long-lasting change it to be achieved. The length of treatment can vary depending on the individual. Treatment will be reviewed at intervals within the therapy and termination of treatment will be discussed in the session.

What do we expect from you?

  • Knowing as much as possible about your ‘self’ will relieve emotional distress. The requirement here is to gain knowledge – conscious knowledge about how you come to do and feel the things that you do. Psychotherapists do not necessarily talk about cure – what you will need to aim for is insight. It requires you to have a kind of investigative approach to your situation. You can gain knowledge about yourself by continually aiming to put your thoughts and feelings into words. Hearing yourself speak these words and discover your own meanings is more important and, in the long run, will be more helpful than ‘waiting’ for the answers to come from outside you (and ‘outsiders’ includes your therapist).
  • It is important for you to learn how to observe and reflect upon yourself. What this requires of you is to question, think about, and reevaluate the reasons, purposes and motivations behind what you do. The goal is to stand back and see how you are causing distress to yourself by the things that you do, the things that you believe, how you manage yourself and how you sometimes fail to take responsibility for yourself.
  • It is important to accept that ‘there is more to the story than meets the eye’. What this means is that there are always deeper meanings in what you do and feel – meanings that are not immediately accessible to you at first. The task of therapy is to attempt to reach these hidden meanings – those meanings, which for whatever reason have been closed off to your conscious mind. In short, you must be willing to search and seek for meanings beyond what you comfortably know about yourself.
  • It is important to accept the premise that you have a personal part to play in all the events of your adult life. What this means is that there is an area of personal responsibility that needs to be explored and accepted – your own motivations, wishes, impulses and desires. These are areas of your life that you can change if you wish. This will be more beneficial to you than to hope that other people will change around you.

Some additional things to expect from your therapy.

  • You will complete some questionnaires when you first make contact. These will give your therapist a better idea of the sorts of problems you are experiencing as well as giving some signal as to how badly they affect you. Your therapist will discuss the results of these questionnaires with you. You will fill out these questionnaires again during and at the end of your treatment to make sure that the work you do with your therapist is relieving your distress.
  • Exploratory psychotherapy can often involve getting in touch with powerful feelings and/or thoughts which may surprise or upset you. It is important that you talk to your therapist when this is happening, not only to work through them but to help you manage yourself while this is happening.


Maida Vale
Westminster, London, W9

Full address details on booking

UK Council for Psychotherapy