Our childhood in complex and myriad ways contributes to who we are as adults, why we can get into repeating difficulties in relationships or struggle to manage areas of our emotional life. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is one way of exploring this in a safe and supportive environment.
This video by the school of life discusses the relevance of our childhood in understanding the struggles of adulthood. It raises the possibility that with self examination we can liberate ourselves from the stories of our childhood, or at least obtain a clearer idea of their ongoing influence.
John Bowlby developed attachment theory in the early 1950’s to further understand the impact of early experiences on longer term mental health.
Decades of research have supported his ideas about the importance of early relationships on our enduring ways of relating to others. It has given psychologists and psychotherapists a useful framework for understanding why individual’s may repeat unhelpful patterns within such relationships.
This short and easy to understand video by the school of life explains some of his ideas ….
In this article by Jonathan Shedler, an american psychoanalyst, several myths regarding psychodynamic psychotherapy are debunked. He also describes the differences between this kind of therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.
“Freud’s legacy is not a specific theory but rather a sensibility: an appreciation of the depth and complexity of mental life and a recognition that we do not fully know ourselves. It is also an acknowledgment that what we do not know is nonetheless manifested in our relationships and can cause suffering—or, in a therapy relationship, can be examined and potentially reworked.”
Many of us may have had the experience of reading a novel or a poem which touches us in a particular way but can reading enhance our sense of well being?
In this interesting article by Sally Vickers, psychoanalyst, she describes how reading can touch parts of ourselves that were perhaps hidden and in doing so expand our sense of who we are. She notes “ we may discover in a book shadow aspects of ourselves we have failed to acknowledge or recognise”.
For some people it is very difficult to ask for help even when they are distressed. Why might this be the case? The answer is likely to be complex with several factors at play including the social, cultural and personal.
Attachment theory tries to explain why for some people it does not feel easy to turn to others in times of emotional upset. It focuses on the importance of early developmental experiences in contributing to our capacity (or not) to turn to a trusted other for support. If a child feels repeatedly “let down” by their parents responses to their distress, or if they feel the need to protect their parents, their own emotional needs may be left unattended.
A difficulty in this area is more common than one might imagine and need not not be insurmountable. It can form an important focus in the process of therapy.