Psychodynamic Therapy covers a broad range of interaction between a client and therapist. For our purposes at Love Therapy Center and in the process of Love Therapy we focus on two main areas of Psychodynamic Therapy: childhood experiences (in some cases as an adult) and unconscious beliefs and motivations. In a nutshell, ego wounding. Emotions and beliefs that were formed in past experiences can be activated in an individual’s day to day life, especially for emotions and beliefs that were formed during a traumatic experience. If you’ve ever found yourself reacting to something that does not fit the situation, this is likely the culprit. Your partner’s innocent remark about your appearance may cause you to reply angrily “And you look so great yourself, huh? With you crooked nose and big eyes…” until you both end up badmouthing each other – all because of over-reacting to a situation that does not warrant such a reaction.
Why we overreact to certain situations and how we can best deal with them are some of the issues that Psychodynamic Therapy aims to resolve. It helps individuals become aware of the reasons behind their reactions by going back to the time when they first experienced such an emotion.
The Love Therapy Technique
In reality, couples get together because they want to love and be loved – not to fight and argue. However when perception is blurred through the lens of past experience and ego wounding (which happens for most of us) an innocent interaction can quickly go bad. If you were teased by your parents or siblings about your looks, you might react the same as in the above example. This is a no win situation because once you get defensive about something that was mean innocently, your partner will get defensive and you will then get more defensive in return. You can see how it can quickly escalate.
Often the negative past experiences and ego wounding that are negatively affecting you, your life and your relationships can be targeted and reversed. We do this by identifying the associated negative irrational thoughts – the hidden unconscious stories about yourself or your world that are influencing your current life and interactions.
The negative irrational thoughts are triggered by every day moments that in some way, shape or form are similar to the original experience. So when a person says or does something that is similar to his partner’s “previously harmful or painful experience”, that other person takes it personally and often will react defensively or offensively. Where so many interactions go south so fast is when the wounded ego perceives that something being said or done is somehow malicious, it wants to hurt back and will do and say things in the moment that *are* hurtful.
The sad irony is that neither person really wants to hurt the other. When we are aligned with our (true, core, spiritual) self we just want to love and be loved. When our ego perceives that someone is treating us poorly however, the ego reaction is to do the same back. If you could step outside of the ego, you could see that the other person’s actions are either innocent or out of their own wounds. A major part of the couples therapy work is to highlight this dynamic for each partner.
The process of Love Therapy for couples is to understand how each other’s unresolved childhood issues are affecting their interactions. We highlight the fact that each partner is trying the best they can to communicate and show their love. Because of the past experiences and fear we learn to act, react and interpret things in a way that can be hurtful to each other.
Our goal is twofold: In the couple session, to help you understand each other in a deeper way so you’re less likely to take things personally, and in individual sessions to reverse the negative irrational beliefs into the positive belief that you would rather have. We do this by combining aspects of psychodynamic, somatic, CBT, visualization and EMDR. By working with the unconscious ego wounding, childhood dynamics and the dynamics of the parents we target the experiences that are feeding the negative interactions and desensitize them. The focus is to change the negative belief to a positive belief, both in mind and body.
We check the efficacy of the desensitization process by using a 10 point scale. Starting with the current distressing experience, we identify the negative thoughts (as explained earlier), the emotions and the sensations in your body. Holding all of that, we check the distress level on our scale – it will usually be around 7, 8, 9 or 10. From there we go back to the approximate first time or the worst time that you felt that way.
From there we process using EMDR or visualization techniques. At the end we check back in on the distress levels, which in most cases have dramatically decreased. The end result is that when the emotional response to the original experience is decreased, responses to current day experiences are also decreased.
We welcome you to contact us for a consultation or if you have any further questions about Love Therapy and or how we incorporate Psychodynamic Therapy.
Love Therapy Centers are located in San Diego and San Francisco, California.
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Love Therapy Centers
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222 Columbus Ave. Suite 411, San Francisco, CA 94133 (415) 412-6615
5252 Balboa Ave. Suite 304, San Diego, CA 92117 (619) 376-5576
2542 S. Bascom Ave. Suite 235, Campbell, CA 95008 (415) 412-6615