Psychodynamic therapy empowers you by exploring your past and your inner self 

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy at Harley Therapy

Updated Jan 20, 2022 by Dr. Sheri Jacobson Dr Sheri Jacobson

Psychodynamic Therapy in London

One of the oldest and most established types of modern talk therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy is a perfect fit if you want to gain a deep understanding of yourself, and of how you relate to others and the world.

What is psychodynamic psychotherapy?

The psychodynamic approach developed as a reaction to Freud and psychoanalysis. It shares the psychoanalytic idea that how we behave now is determined by our past.

To cope better and thrive we need to explore our previous life experiences and relationships, as well as our unconcious mind, and the beliefs our past left us with that we might need to unlearn and change. 

Unlike psychoanalysis, working with a psychodynamic therapist also involves looking at your conscious thinking, and your current relationships and challenges. And it uses the client therapist relationship as a tool of therapy. 

The benefits of psychodynamic counselling 

Benefits of attending psychodynamic counselling can mean that you:

  • have deeper understanding of who you are and why you behave the ways you do
  • are more resilient under stress and can respond in healthier ways 
  • feel at peace with your past and more available for your current life
  • are less reactive and more connected in your relationships. 

What issues are suited for psychodynamic therapy?

A recent research review1 looking at years of research on the psychodynamic approach concluded that it is proven effective as a treatment for depression, certain anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and unexplained medical symptoms. Long-term treatment also helped with borderline personality disorder. 

But it can also help with issues such as:

  • addiction
  • bereavement, grief, and loss
  • loneliness
  • low self-esteem or sense of self
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • phobias and fears
  • relationship problems
  • stress
  • unexplained medical issues 
  • work-life imbalance
  • workplace issues. 

Do you offer psychodynamic therapy near me? 

We offer both long-term and brief psychodynamic therapy in central London locations. Call us or use our online booking form to set your first appointment now on Harley Street, at London Bridge,  or in the City. We also offer online sessions if this suits you better. 

The psychodynamic approach to counselling

As well as a form of talk therapy, 'psychodynamic' can be used as an umbrella term that refers to a range of therapies that arose from psychodynamic thought.  

Working with a classically trained psychodynamic counsellor can mean looking at negative coping patterns ('defence mechanisms'), unearthing repressed memories, and exploring your dreams. A 'psychodynamic approach' can simply mean a therapy that looks to your past to understand your present.

What is transference? 

The client therapist relationship in psychodynamic practice can be more formal than in other therapies. A strict focus on not bringing their own personality into your sessions allows your therapist to create space for ‘transference’. This is where you respond to your psychodynamic counsellor as if they were instead a significant other person from your past. You could, for example, feel sudden rage towards them, or attraction.

Transference creates an opportunity to understand your own developmental path from child to adult, and any unresolved issues you have with others. 

Further reading


Fonagy P. The effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapies: An update. World Psychiatry. 2015;14(2):137-150. doi:10.1002/wps.20235.


close icon


The NHS (National Health Service) is the UK's government run medical service. Their website is written and reviewed by medical experts.

NHS logo


close icon

The UK Council for Psychotherapy

The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) is the UK’s leading organisation for psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. It regulates and registers trained and trainee counsellors.

UKCP logo


close icon

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is an association for UK-based counselling professionals. It supports practitioners, enabling them to provide a better service.

BACP logo


close icon


The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is the UK’s national radio and TV broadcaster. It’s the world’s largest, with 35,402 staff and 28 operating languages.

THE BBC logo

report link broken or inaccurate


close icon


Mind is a mental health charity covering England and Wales. It offers support to people with mental health problems and lobbies local and national governments.

MIND logo


close icon

Turning Point

Turning Point is a UK charity and social enterprise which works in the mental health, learning disabilities, substance abuse, criminal justice and employment areas.

Turning Point logo


close icon

The Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation is a UK charity which helps people to understand, protect and improve their mental health.

The Mental Health Foundation logo


close icon

Young Minds

Young Minds is a UK charity which works to improve the mental health of children and young people by providing appropriate support and resources.

Young Minds logo

report link broken or inaccurate


close icon


Wikipedia is an online encyclopaedia that’s written and maintained by a global volunteer community. It’s the largest-ever reference work and receives 1.7 unique visitors monthly.

Wikipedia logo

How to book your session

Call us now on 0345 474 1724 OR

Book Online Now

All of our practitioners are qualified and accredited with reputable professional associations for counselling and psychotherapy.

close icon



Harley Therapy Ltd. “Psychodynamic Psychotherapy in London • Harley Therapy™”. Harley Therapy, 20 Jan. 2022, Accessed 22 May. 2022.


Harley Therapy Ltd. (2022, January 20). Psychodynamic Psychotherapy in London • Harley Therapy™. Retrieved from


Harley Therapy Ltd. "Psychodynamic Psychotherapy in London • Harley Therapy™." Last modified January 20, 2022. Accessed May 22, 2022.

Skype Therapy and Online Counselling

Psychodynamic Therapy in London

Video: What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?
What are some famous psychodynamic psychotherapists?

Many famous psychologists and psychoanalysts questioned Freud’s theories and added to the development of psychodynamic psychotherapy and its concepts. These include Carl Jung, Melanie Klein, Alfred Adler, and Otto Rank.

What are defence mechanisms?

"Defence mechanisms' are negative coping behavioural patterns you are trapped in. An example is dissocation, where you tend to float off and avoid things that feel stressful. Or denial, where you just pretend things are okay when they are not.  

How is the psychodynamic approach different to other talk therapies?
  • it uses strict boundaries with time-keeping and a therapeutic contract
  • your therapist might be more reserved than with other modern therapies
  • it is an open-ended, longer-term therapy, meaning it can go on for months or years and you decide with your therapist when it’s time to stop working together
  • you will discuss the past in each session 
  • some psychodynamic therapists will work with you on the dreams you are having. 

Therapy Services

5 star ratings since 2006