Psychodynamic therapy is a form of depth psychology, which explores how unconscious psychological processes influence your conscious beliefs, feelings, choices and behaviors. It presumes that ongoing personal problems come from unconscious inner conflicts and relationship dynamics that generally emerge early in life. These conflicts and dynamics can become inflamed by traumatic events occurring at any time in the lifespan. Their persistence in your present experience is what drives your symptoms. The therapy focuses on revealing, resolving, healing.
CBT is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the primary role of individual thought patterns in engendering feelings and behavior. Some CBT approaches help you become very aware of frequent, negative distortions in your thinking that obscure the truth and therefore compromise your ability to tackle problems effectively. Some CBT techniques help you replace overly negative thoughts with more balanced, more realistic thoughts, which results in decreased distress and self-defeating behavior. Some CBT approaches are more action-oriented, helping you set and achieve concrete goals.Newer approaches, including mindfulness techniques, help you change your relationship to self-defeating thinking rather than change the thinking itself, to diminish or neutralize their influence on you.
Mindfulness is the capacity to stay focused on what is happening in your immediate experience in the present, right here, right now. It involves increasing awareness of your incoming and outgoing thoughts and feelings, observing and accepting them without judging them.You notice the arising of distressing thoughts without getting pulled into the undertow of them. You focus attention instead on physical sensations that follow such thoughts. You observe how they morph, when they dissolve. The idea is that emotions get translated as bodily sensations. “Following” the progression of these sensations can neutralize emotions and even engender useful insights about them.
Using mindfulness, even difficult emotions are fully experienced in a way that can lead to problem-solving. In a detached state you can make wise decisions rather than react to them in a knee-jerk, problematic way. You can face emotional stress, rather than avoid it, as avoidance only prolongs and worsens the pain.