Psychodynamic Therapy in Newport Beach

Psychodynamic Therapy (Psychoanalysis)

Psychodynamic therapy is an evolved and modernized psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic therapy. The theory and treatment is the only modality that contains a thorough and comprehensive understanding of personality and emotions. Common cultural words like projection, denial, displacement, and repression all originate from this theoretical mode which date back to Freud and his contemporaries. Personality patterns like narcissism, borderline, and obsessive compulsive are products of over 100 years of psychodynamic research and an extension of Freud’s genius. We wouldn’t have these words or understandings if it wasn’t for psychodynamic therapy.

As a foundation, psychodynamic therapy operates under the premise that what we refuse to know (and our psyche may decide this for us sometimes), confront, or understand within ourselves has its tightest grip on us. It believes we are prone to repeat patterns from the past until directly addressed. It puts an emphasis on our earliest, and most important relationships. It targets our foundational patterns stemming back to when they began. Until we own, understand and digest what we have experienced in the past we are left blind in many ways as we attempt to navigate the present and future. Until therapy, we do not know the code underlying our programming and there is real value in designing a life around the insights discovered in psychodynamic therapy. Much suffering gets avoided when you can provide a meaningful answer to the question “who are you?”

Psychodynamic therapy believes that the way we adapted to our early home lives created a template that is later filled with familiar characters and situations that we continue to reenact until resolved. A personality is literally and simply a set of interpersonal habits around how one regulates emotion in their connection with others. People fall into familiar habit clusters that we define as “personality types.” This model has a comprehensive way of understanding familiar wounds and the ways in which people reflexively protect themselves and regulate emotions in the form of “personality.”  

As psychodynamic therapists, our goal is to help you become more honest with yourself – emotionally, psychologically, and relationally. We will encourage and support you in opening to emotions fully and safely while exploring the Truths about your life experience. Simultaneously, we will help you to connect the dots of your past so that you may better your chances at living a satisfying and useful life.  

This approach relies upon over a hundred years of collaborative wisdom that will help you move threatening unconscious material (thoughts, emotions, experiences) into a more conscious, workable place.  Patients of psychodynamic therapists use words like “deep, meaningful, healing, insightful, and powerful” to describe their experiences.  

If you are looking to explore who you are, make sense of your personality, better your relationships or become more insightful then this is the therapy for you. It is a roots-up healing modality with an incredible track record for success. To read more about psychodynamic therapy visit our Posts page: and  

Here are some of the major focuses of the psychodynamic approach: 

  • A focus on affect and the expression of emotion 
  • Uncovering and identifying subconscious emotions, thoughts, anxieties 
  • To explore the ways in which defenses against difficult emotions are used and identify the resulting negative consequences 
  • Exploration of the patients’ efforts to avoid certain topics or engage in activities that get in the way of therapeutic progress 
  • An emphasis on past experiences 
  • Identification of patterns in thoughts, actions, feelings, experiences, and relationships  
  • Focus on interpersonal experiences 
  • An emphasis on the therapeutic relationship 
  • Specific interests in exploring wishes, dreams, and fantasies 


Frequently Asked Questions

Psychodynamic therapy is a depth-oriented form of therapy aimed at targeting root issues. Its focus is on how patterns of our early environments are cemented into our adult styles of work, love, and play. 

Psychodynamic therapy is a powerful, transformative type of therapy that helps people process emotions and develop insight at the deepest level. It relies on decades of research from master clinicians in psychoanalysis and attachment therapy. This is a unique and highly effective specialty of our group.

Psychodynamic therapy is all about processing emotion and developing insight. We collaborate with you in unearthing core memories and experiences in your life and drawing important connections to the challenges and suffering you are currently facing. You can expect major “aha!” moments and healing in some of the deepest ways therapy has to offer.

The available research shows enormous benefits to this form of therapy. In fact, the literature on psychodynamic therapy supports some of the most effective and long-lasting change possible. It is effective at treating anxiety, depression, relationship issues, attachment disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), addiction and trauma. 

Our clients frequently share that this approach is different from anything they had experienced before and believe it to be a significant part of their change process and healing. 

A fellow psychodynamic psychologist has written several engaging articles on the effectiveness of this approach, you can find them here:

Yes! We are one of the few groups in the area that specialize in this type of therapy. We believe this is the secret sauce of our group and one of the reasons we have such a positive reputation for providing quality, life-changing therapy. Reach out to us if you would like to find out more about this approach.

First, you’ve found one! Some other great ways to search for psychodynamic therapists near you is on Psychology Today or one of the local Psychoanalytic professional communities in the area. 

One of the things that I encourage patients seeking therapy to do is look for reviews, personal experiences, and ask a prospective therapist if they practice this form of therapy specifically.

The key principles of psychodynamic therapy are:

  • A focus on affect and expression of emotion and putting words to feelings
  • Exploration of attempts to avoid distressing thoughts and feelings – this is often much more complicated and sneakier than what appears on the surface or what one knows about themselves already.
  • Identification of recurring themes and patterns – particularly one’s defensive patterns and personality styles aimed at avoiding threatening emotions
  • Discussion of past experience – identification of recurring themes in relating to others, particularly early attachment figures, that manifest in one’s thoughts, feelings, relationships, and self-concept).
  • Focus on Interpersonal relationships past and present – this is often where the breadcrumbs lie that take us to the issues that really need to be dealt with.
  • A focus on the therapeutic relationship – the patterns that are a part of one’s relational/emotional history are likely to emerge in the patient-therapist dynamic. This is all grist for the mill and identifying these “reenactments” are often a powerful part of the process.

Exploration of fantasy life – we encourage our patients to free-associate and allow themselves to speak freely, in an un-editing way during our sessions, this is often an incredible gateway to identifying deep psychological issues and conflicts.

A long-term commitment isn’t necessary. We encourage our patients to take it a session at a time before deciding to be all-in or all-out. The answer to this question becomes more obvious after the first few sessions after the depth and breadth of issues come into plain sight for both therapist and patient. However, we are very strict on session attendance meeting the standard of care, once per week. Any less and it’s just too difficult to go into depth on anything and the therapy becomes more of a check-in than a change process.

Of course! We encourage patients to do their own research and read reviews on the therapists they are interested in. Ours can be found on both our Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades pages. We think it’s especially important that anyone practicing psychodynamic therapy has actually done this type of therapy themselves. This is the case for us and we believe it is an art best learned through experience.

This is a great question! We like to make this question more of a conversation than give a blanketed reply. Some of the other therapies we offer are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT). 

We typically use elements of each in tandem with other therapeutic approaches. Anything too stiffly implemented creates a rigid, ineffective therapy. However, most therapies tend to lean more on certain therapeutic approaches over others given the clients personality, goals, and clinical issues.

We would love to discuss who in our group would be a best fit and which approach you would likely benefit from. Give us a call!