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Psychotherapy Counselling: The Science of Relating

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Article by Associated Counsellors

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The Science of Relating: Psychodynamics & Psychotherapy

Have you ever walked away from a disagreement with someone, feeling like the reason behind the argument had nothing to do with that person? Or that the cause originated somewhere else, but you’re not quite sure where it came from? Some of us will agree that at times we feel compelled to say certain things in the heat of the moment. But how many will admit that when we hear ourselves complaining about another person’s failings, we are actually highlighting a problem we share in common? Psychodynamics and psychotherapy offers theories which help us to answer these questions.

Psychoanalysis allows a relationship to be fostered, between the patient and psychologist. The underlying principle in any kind of psychotherapy is that there are unconscious processes at work in an individual’s psychology. These happen below the level of consciousness. The psychologist helps to develop thinking strategies, so that the patient becomes aware of the unconscious motives they have.

The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud proposed that the first relationship in an individual’s life, serves as a template for later relationships. Initially, Freud decided that the primary function of this first relationship was mainly biological. It served to ensure that the infant’s immediate biological needs were met, and ensured survival. This includes basics like: eating, comfort, and safety.

Psychologists today acknowledge that relationships serve far more purpose than Freud originally speculated. They provide a source of comfort and support, and bring shared meanings to our lives. During infancy, our relationship with our primary caregiver, (usually the mother) endows us with the building blocks for a healthy adult relationship.

What is going on in your Mind!?

What is crucial about Freud’s contribution here is that he managed to explain how patterns of relating learned during childhood, impact on adult relationships in later life. Freud gives this phenomenon the name: “Transference”. During childhood development, we learn to repress certain wishes and wants, which are considered to be inappropriate. In our adult relationships, when we experience transference, we are not aware that it is happening. So when it comes to romantic relationships, sometimes the answer to the above question has to be: “I’m not quite sure right now”.

Child Development: Health and Environment

When infants and mothers are well attuned, this means that all the infant’s needs are able to be met. The child can learn patterns of relating from the mother or caregiver and can develop socially. While the child is growing and developing psychologically, there are several factors which can sometimes interrupt the process. The following issues can interrupt social development, and affect how we relate to others:

·       The mother’s state of health.

·       The infant’s state of health.

·       Environmental factors, such as poverty, stress, or unfit living conditions.

Working through Relationship and Personal Issues

Today, counsellors and psychologists help people dealing with a variety of personal issues. Talking therapy is useful for anyone trying to come to terms with:

  • Difficult personal relationships
  • Dramatic changes in life.
  •  Issues relating to development.
  • Domestic violence and abuse.
  • Trauma.
  • Personal development.

Mental Health Now

Psychologists rely on scientific methods, using evidence to provide the right therapy for each individual. They are instrumental in diagnosing and treating common mental health problems such as:

·       Depression.

·       Anxiety.

·       Addictions.

Psychology in Australia

If you would like to learn more about the role of psychology in Australia today or you are interested in studying psychology, visit Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney. Here you will find helpful tips and advice about finding a psychologist, as well as more in-depth information about psychological issues and methodologies.

Written by Joanna Fishman

21 Feb 2013

Last Update: 12 Jun 2014

Article/Information supplied by Associated Counsellors

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.