Typically therapists use exploration of unconscious thoughts and feelings, understanding aspects of the relationship between therapist and patient that may be related to underlying emotional conflicts, interpreting defense processes that inhibit emotional awareness, and examining issues related to the sense of self and self- esteem.
Techniques utilized in psychoanalytic/psychodynamic psychotherapy are:
Transference Analysis. The patient transfers unconscious feelings that may have been directed to an important person in the past, such as parents, to the psychotherapist. Through this transference, the individual in therapy begins to relate to the therapist in the same way he or she relates to people in the past, and relives the repressed emotions associated with previous relationships. The psychotherapist interprets the meaning of these responses to help the individual become more aware of how their past relationships may affect their functioning in the present.
Dream Interpretation. A technique for interpreting and making conscious the repressed unconscious thoughts, impulses, and conflicts expressed in dreams by symbols and images.
Interpretation. The verbal communication of observations into a cohesive narrative in order to promote awareness of feelings, fantasies, thoughts, impulses, and inhibitions that was unconscious.
Free Association. A technique used to encourage the patient to talk openly about whatever is on their mind. The uncensored expression of words, thoughts, or feelings facilitates in uncovering unconscious processes. Resistance Analysis. Resistance refers to unconscious attempts by individuals to prevent anxiety-provoking material to become conscious. By recognizing and identifying resistance that obstructs psychotherapeutic process, the therapist assists the patient to access and work through his/her unconscious conflicts.