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What Is… Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic Therapy?


Psychoanalytic (or psychodynamic) therapy is a form of talk therapy and based on the idea that people are motivated by their unconscious thoughts, emotions, and memories. Its key focus is on the psychological roots of emotional suffering, such as early-life experiences. The theories behind psychoanalytic therapy are based on those originating from psychoanalysis, developed by Sigmund Freud.

Psychoanalytic therapy aims to help people gain a better understanding of the thoughts, feelings, and conflicts that influence their behavior. This type of therapy also allows people to gain a better understanding of their unconscious motivations, which are said to influence how they think, feel, and behave. The result of people gaining more insight and understanding of how they feel and think will allow them to make better choices, improve their relationships, and help them achieve goals that will provide greater life satisfaction.

Psychodynamic Therapy


Psychoanalytic therapy can help treat the following:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Eating disorders

  • Interpersonal problems

  • Psychological distress

  • Social anxiety disorder

Psychoanalytic therapy


Psychoanalytic therapy helps people recognize the repressed emotions and unconscious influences that affect how they behave, which will in turn help them learn how they can express their emotions in healthier ways.

Therapists may apply the following techniques:

  • Transference Analysis – the therapist analyzes the patient’s feelings and behaviours towards the therapist to gain insight into their past experiences and unconscious mind.

  • Dream Analysis – the therapist analyzes the patient’s dreams to discover key themes and patterns.

Psychoanalytic therapy

  • Interpretation – the process where the therapist consolidates observations of a patient’s conscious and unconscious behavior (e.g., verbal and nonverbal communication) into a cohesive narrative.

  • Free Association – the patient talks openly about whatever is on their mind as a way to elicit unconscious thoughts, fears, shame, and motivations.


Evidence shows that psychoanalytic therapy provides lasting benefits that extend beyond the elimination of symptoms due to patients gaining inner resources and capacities throughout treatment.

Psychoanalytic therapy


Lynda Keung, MACP (In Progress), RP (Qualifying)

Lynda is currently completing her Master’s in Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University and is a qualifying registered psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. As a psychotherapist, Lynda is passionate about supporting the needs and making therapy accessible to people from diverse cultures. Lynda places great value in each person’s uniqueness as an individual and believes in the importance of accounting for individual differences throughout the therapeutic process to better support her clients.

Book a free 15-minute consultation with Lynda now

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