Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is rooted in the belief that bringing the unconscious into consciousness creates not only insight and self-awareness, but actually is the first step to resolving inner conflicts, finding greater peace, and feeling more empowered and alive. 

The root word “psyche” means mind.

Psychodynamic literally means the “dynamics of the mind” and psychotherapy means the “healing of the mind.”

Ultimately, this process will generate awareness of powerful unconscious forces by forging connections between past experiences and present struggles.

As we deepen our self-awareness, we begin to take control of these forces rather than being controlled by them.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is simply a general term used to refer to this approach.

In psychodynamic therapy, we examine your anxiety and defenses as they arise within our sessions in real time.

We explore the past through the lens of the present moment.

We are trained to help you identify signs of unconscious anxiety and address and overcome internal conflicts that may be responsible for many of the problems in your life—from depression and anxiety to work and relationship problems.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a type of therapy in which you and your therapist explore the unconscious and subtle parts of your past and present experience.

It is based on the theory that our mind, or psyche, is partly conscious, partly unconscious, and partly semi-conscious.

That means by using psychodynamic therapy, you can begin to understand your unconscious motives and become empowered to change the repeating patterns that may lead you to feel stuck in life.

Book A Free Call

Book a free call to get matched with one of our warm and experienced Psychodynamic therapists.


How it Works

Having a non-judgemental, consistent, and strong relationship with your therapist is vital to your success with psychodynamic psychotherapy.

This method of therapy uses the client-therapist relationship as a tool to help make sense of and improve various behaviors, patterns, and relationship issues that may have become disruptive in your life.

Through exploration of your past and present—as well as through the client-therapist relationship—the goal of psychodynamic psychotherapy is to become more emotionally aware and connected.

This allows us to navigate our lives in more effective and empowered ways, to create more meaningful relationships, and to feel a sense of vitality, peace, and self-trust.

For a thorough look at the main components of psychodynamic therapy and the evidence for its efficacy, please read the article: The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy by Jonathan Shedler.

To summarize the article, these are the main focuses and features that psychodynamic (also known as psychoanalytic) psychotherapy highlights.

  • Focusing on the expression of emotions and how they may affect you
      • Sometimes you might have contradicting emotions, threatening or unpleasant feelings, or you might not want to acknowledge how you are feeling about an event because you believe you should not be feeling that way. We will guide you through acknowledging these emotions so that you can begin healing.
  • Exploring why you might be avoiding feelings that cause you distress
      • Nobody wants to experience negative emotions; it does feel good to be happy. However, you might unconsciously act in ways so that you don’t ever have to talk about your negative emotions, which you might not even realize. This can be seen with actions such as being late to your sessions or missing them completely, or even shifting the focus away from the topic that gives you the negative feelings, so that you don’t have to acknowledge how you were feeling. You need to remember, though, that it is completely okay and valid to feel this way.
  • Looking for and acknowledging patterns 
      • Sometimes you might be doing things over and over again that cause you to feel hurt or bring out a worse side of you, and you might not even realize it. This can include behaviors such as constantly entering damaging or draining relationships or friendships. Acknowledging that you are doing these things is a good way to realize what you might need help fixing.

Research-based, personalized therapy.

At My LA Therapy, our warm and experienced therapists specialize in anxiety, depression, trauma, & relationships.


  • Conversing about your past experiences
      • Our past can affect our present and still creep in in subtle ways, affecting small things such as the decisions we make. Recognizing how your caregivers or past experiences affected you can reveal how your actions might be affected as well.
  • Bringing a focus onto your relationships
      • There can be many problems when your relationships in life fail to satisfy your emotional needs, so it is important to recognize when this is happening and how to change it. Relationship problems can also provide insights into our unconscious and can teach us what we need to shift to find inner healing.
  • Bringing a focus onto the relationship between us therapists and you
      • How you view others in the world around you might affect how you treat your therapist; for example, if you’ve experienced a lot of betrayal within your past relationships, you might have trouble trusting your therapist. We work though these issues together in order to create healing in the therapy relationship and beyond.
  • Exploring fantasy or imaginative life
    • You are encouraged to speak freely in these sessions, which might even lead to conversations about your dreams and fantasies. These can provide an insight into how your deeper, unconscious beliefs about yourself and the world.


Our Therapy Methods

Therapy can improve your life by minimizing the anxiety in your life, identifying and changing underlying thought and behavioral patterns that contribute to your struggles, and providing you with strategies to decrease discomfort while restoring an overall sense of peace.

To experience true and lasting joy in our life, we must face and conquer our pain by healing our underlying trauma and confronting our fears.

See the About Therapy page for a deeper look into this process.

Our evidence-based, scientifically proven interventions are demonstrated by research to be effective in addressing a wide range of mental health, relational, and psychological issues.

Learn more about our empirically based therapy modalities by visiting our Methods page.

Want to talk?

At My LA Therapy, our highly-vetted Psychodynamic experts are selected not only for their clinical acumen but for who they are.

What Our Clients Say

Psychodynamic Therapists

Ready to level up your life?