Unconscious processes play an essential role in how people respond to everyday stressors and situations. Underlying issues may affect a client’s ability to heal during treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) or mental health issues. Psychodynamic therapy (PDT) is often used to help people overcome unresolved problems related to mental health. According to World Psychiatry, “PDT may be particularly [desirable] if depression is accompanied by personality disorder or childhood trauma.” Exclusive Hawaii Rehab uses PDT alongside other alternative and evidence-based therapies to treat depression, SUD, and other conditions.

What Is Psychodynamic Therapy?

PDT addresses how unconscious processes affect a person’s thoughts, moods, and behaviors. According to Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, “This form of psychotherapy uses patient self reflection and self examination, as well as the therapeutic relationship between the patient and psychiatrist, to explore maladaptive coping strategies and relationship patterns of the patient.”

The therapist may use several different techniques during PDT, including:

  • Free Association: The therapist introduces a word or topic, and the client responds with their immediate thoughts, feelings, or beliefs about the word or topic
  • Building Emotional Resilience: The therapist helps the client identify ways to increase resiliency during challenging moments in recovery
  • Transference: Clients may transfer feelings toward other people onto their therapist, and the therapist guides them through recognizing the cause and effect of the feelings while modeling a healthy relationship

Every session is tailored to the needs and preferences of the client. Some clients may benefit from engaging in many different therapeutic techniques during therapy. Other individuals may find one approach that works best for them and use it repeatedly throughout treatment.

How Does Psychodynamic Therapy Work?

Many people in treatment for SUD, eating disorders (EDs), or other mental health issues have symptoms caused by unconscious processes. Some people choose not to identify the cause of their distress, while others may not have the necessary skills and tools to understand the underlying problems. Clinicians at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab guide clients through identifying unconscious processes and how they impact current thought patterns or behaviors.

PDT works by doing the following:

  • Helping clients identify and address the root causes of their disorders
  • Making it easier for clients and clinicians to recognize patterns related to mental health symptoms
  • Providing clients with context for unconscious processes

Individuals in treatment may resist analyzing underlying issues affecting their health. According to the previously mentioned article by Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, during PDT, “The psychiatrist may be tasked with confronting obstacles which, due to temperament, learned behavior, or emotional conflict, may impede the process of change.” Clients benefit from being encouraged to look deeper into their behaviors and thought patterns.

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The Health Benefits of Self-Reflection

Self-reflection allows people to heal and grow. Individuals recovering from substance abuse or other mental health issues may have difficulty looking past overt thoughts or actions to analyze the context behind them. PDT provides clients with a safe space for exploring the context of their emotional distress and the motivation for specific thoughts or behaviors.

Some of the known benefits of healthy self-reflection include:

  • Increased focus and clarity
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased self-control
  • Improved self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Increased emotional stability

The positive effects of PDT help clients heal and grow during rehabilitation. Often, clients struggle to identify or communicate their needs or the issues affecting their mental health. PDT enables clients to make those connections, giving the care team a better understanding of how to help the client.

What Conditions Are Treated Using Psychodynamic Therapy?

Many people recovering from SUD have a history of dysfunctional relationships. PDT is an excellent tool for understanding how the past affects the present. For example, someone who was traumatized by a past relationship can discuss how it currently affects their ability to trust or rely on others. The client and therapist work together to find healthier ways to reframe events, thoughts, and beliefs related to the trauma. PDT often significantly reduces the symptoms of SUD and other conditions.

Some of the disorders treated using psychodynamic therapy include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • SUD
  • EDs

PDT may be used alongside other therapeutic modalities to ensure a whole-person approach to treatment.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Psychodynamic Therapy at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab uses a combination of treatment options to ensure clients receive the best care possible. Studies have shown that brief “psychodynamic therapies probably have the best chance to be effective when they are integrated into a relatively comprehensive substance abuse treatment program that includes drug-focused interventions such as regular urinalysis, drug counseling, and, for opioid-dependents, methadone maintenance pharmacotherapy.” The clinical team uses drug-focused interventions and other tools to address the needs of each person in treatment. Clients are given an opportunity to use PDT and other therapies to address important issues related to their health and recovery.

Building the Foundation for a Healthier Future

Individuals experiencing SUD or mental health issues may have many maladaptive behaviors or routines to replace. Building a solid foundation for a healthier future takes time. The dedicated clinicians at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab provide clients with the skills and resources to create a healthier lifestyle.

PDT prepares clients to manage their condition after treatment by helping them gain essential insights and self-confidence. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab uses PDT and other forms of treatment to ensure clients feel empowered and ready to overcome challenges they may encounter in their daily lives.