There are three core aspects to the psychodynamic model of counselling. Firstly, we all have aspects of our functioning that we do not have direct access to, parts that we may not understand and that can influence how we feel and behave. These areas of functioning are called the unconscious. A belief in the importance and significance of the unconscious is what makes psychodynamic counselling different from other kinds of talking treatments such as supportive or cognitive therapy. The second aspect is that the unconscious can find a way of expressing itself through the processes of transference and countertransference. Transferences are the processes whereby feelings in the client related to past experiences which have become unconscious are transferred onto the relationship with the counsellor. That is, feelings are drawn into the therapeutic relationship that have a source elsewhere. Countertransferences are the feelings and experiences that are evoked in the counsellor that specifically relate to the relationship with the client. The third aspect to the model is that we all develop a range of defences in order to keep us from developing a more conscious awareness of what our unconscious contains.
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