In Relational Psychodynamic Therapy, interactions between the therapist and patient serve as a map for understanding internal and interpersonal experiences that keep the patient feeling stuck. In a safe supportive therapeutic relationship, patients can better explore new ways of thinking, gain more inner strength to carry on their daily life, and practice more effective ways of relating to others. Additionally, the therapist assists the patient in accessing personal qualities that have been under developed or inhibited by maladaptive beliefs about themselves, others, and the world.
The goal in this approach is for patients to discover how their unconscious mind is creating problems for them and how those problems can be altered toward creating opportunities for change, healing, and growth. Our unconscious mind is comprised of automatic processes and includes what we have learned about ourselves, relationships, and life. It monitors what we pay attention to and what we keep out of our conscious awareness, including thoughts, feelings, and desires, for fear that they might cause problems in our relationships with others and ourselves. The problem is that these thoughts, feelings, and desires continue to exist and influence the way we feel, think, and act, regardless if they are in our immediate awareness or not.
Through Relational Psychodynamic Therapy, patients may form a more harmonious relationship between their conscious and unconscious mind so that they can begin to see possibility and find meaning in their internal and interpersonal experiences. In other words, patients can better understand how their minds, bodies, and interpersonal lives can work together to relieve and heal their emotional pain and make lasting changes in their life.