What is psychodynamic counselling?

Psychodynamic counselling holds the belief that our sense of self/personality is developed from our early experience of relationships, particularly with our parents and other important people in our life.


 The reason for this is that it is from those relationships that we learn who we are in relation to others.

If our early experiences of relationships are difficult, we can develop a distorted view of ourselves which can affect us in adulthood.

WHAT DOES THE Counsellor DO?

Counsellors working from the psychodynamic perspective will help clients to explore those early relational difficulties, or any past traumatic experiences.

They will support the client in making the links from past experience to present ways of feeling and relating to self and others.

They will also help the clients look at how unconsciously, patterns of behavior, defence mechanisms and distorted self-concepts develop over time due to suppressing difficult past experiences and then affect our daily lives in adulthood.

The psychodynamic counsellor will work within a set of boundaries which we call the framework, offering 50 minute sessions at the same time, on the same day each week, informing the client of breaks in advance and maintaining confidentiality helps to give the client a safe experience of being contained and held whilst working through all their difficult life experiences. This experience helps to develop a strong therapeutic relationship.

The relationship with the counsellor is important and will be used in the work to help clients identify how quite often the difficulties or ways of behaving in the therapeutic relationship mirror how you may relate to others outside of the counselling room currently and in past relationships. This is a concept known as ‘transference’ whereby we relate to others based on our experiences with a significant other from the past. This of course ties into the idea that our early relationships or past relationships affect how we currently relate to ourselves and others.


Understanding how your past has impacted on your present can evoke self – awareness and change and can also address issues such as:

  • Low self esteem

  • Lack of self- worth

  • Lack of confidence

  • When these areas improve you will be more able to:

  • Recognise and meet your own needs

  • Set boundaries

  • Break patterns of behaviour

  • Have a better relationship with self and others.