Dr. Nick Davies
BSc Hons (Wits); MSc (Wits); BSc Hons (Psych)(UNISA)
MA (Clin Psych)(Wits); PhD(Wits)
Practice No: 086 000 0329045 Reg No: PS0102121
What is psychodynamic psychotherapy?
Psychodynamic therapy is a specific approach to the understanding of mental functioning, both healthy and less healthy. What we are conscious of in our minds is only a part of what goes on in our minds. We have impulses, feelings, thoughts and perceptions that are not always known to us. Very often seemingly meaningless symptoms have a psychological meaning and seemingly unchangeable destructive patterns of behaviour and relating originate from unconscious psychological conflict. The aim of psychodynamic psychotherapy is to make conscious what is unconscious in an effort to better understand a person’s motivations and thus respond to them more thoughtfully and with greater awareness.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is different from psychiatry in that it does not rely on drugs, and different from other more behavioural and cognitive therapies in that behavioural techniques and certain types of thought control techniques to bring about change are not its focus. While symptom relief and finding solutions where possible to everyday difficulties are important, psychodynamic therapy is more. It involves an exploration of the inner world of the patient and encourages a thoughtfulness and inquisitiveness about what is going on both in the patient’s lived experience as well as in his or her internal world, and a thoughtfulness around how this relates to his or her struggles as well as the changes the patient may wish to make.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy does not offer a “quick fix” and requires a time, financial and personal commitment to the process of self understanding. Much of the work done in therapy will be done by you both during and in between sessions through contemplating the events and interactions of the sessions. Our work together will start with whatever it is that brings you to therapy be it a symptom, a sadness, a struggle or a desire, but after that your motivation and commitment to engage with the work will be fundamental to the development and outcome of the therapeutic process. What psychodynamic psychotherapy offers is an opportunity for you to explore and question your life, beliefs, behavioural patterns and expectations, to perhaps express something that you have not expressed before, and maybe to become aware of things that previously you were unaware of.
The therapeutic process often leads to fresh ways of experiencing oneself, others and the world around you; to more enjoyable experiences, increased creativity, and a reduction of distress. However, change often occurs in unpredictable ways and it is impossible to know in advance what may happen.
How long does therapy last?
Each session is fifty minutes in duration. How many sessions are required? At the outset of the therapeutic process it is important to identify what it is you wish to get from therapy. This might not always be as easy as it sounds, but generally it is possible to express, in some way, what the aim of our therapy together will be. This aim always remains in the back of our minds as we work together. We may agree to work together for a set number of sessions and at the end of those sessions you can decide whether you feel your goals have been achieved, partially achieved or not achieved at all and based on this a decision about whether to terminate therapy or continue can be made. At other times we might agree to start and continue therapy in an open ended way, until such time as you feel ready to terminate, whether it be because you have achieved your goals or because there is no more work that we can do together on helping you achieve those goals.
Psychotherapy is not an “everlasting” commitment, but neither is it a quick fix and you should be prepared to give yourself a fair chance at enjoying the benefits that it offers. Never-the -less, the choice to terminate therapy is always yours, although it would be important for us to talk through your decision and fully understand its motivations.
It should be borne in mind that therapy is not a “linear process” with a clear, marked “improvement” after each session. There are times when it might feel there is no “improvement” and during such periods in therapy you might feel tempted to quit, feeling you are wasting your time. It is important to know that often, during such “slow” periods, important ground work is being done and necessary foundations laid and that such periods might well preface meaningful and helpful breakthroughs and insights.
How often does one attend therapy?
Frequency of sessions varies but is never less than once a week since otherwise it becomes difficult to build on previous sessions as time together is then spent “catching up” rather than working and thinking together about locked away feelings and unconscious perceptions.
How much does therapy cost?
My fees are closely aligned with medical aid rates and, depending on your particular plan, you should be able to claim the majority of the fee back. Generally it is expected that you pay at the time of the consultation, or at the end of the month, whichever arrangement is agreed to. For current fees please feel free to contact me.