A-Z Teen Health Glossary

Teen Psycho-Dynamic Therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on the teens’ subconscious or unconscious tendencies, such as feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and/or desires, which manifest themselves in outward experiences and behaviors.  Therefore, this type of therapy is based around therapists helping teens to become self-aware, and to gain insight into the ways in which past experiences are affecting their current behavior.  The main goals of Teen Psycho-Dynamic Therapy are to help teens gain this insight into themselves so that they can examine and address unresolved issues and/or conflicts within relationships, especially those which began or were triggered during childhood.  Then, the teens observe and make connections between these unresolved issues and their current negative behaviors and/or feelings they’re currently experiencing.   The belief is that if teens can make these conscious connections between previous issues and their current realities, then they can also make necessary changes in their lives to free themselves from these past struggles.


Teen Psycho-Dynamic Therapy is essentially the oldest form of therapy, and as such, has evolved to include a number of different more specific approaches, which are used to treat a number of different Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders.  This type of therapy, focused on the unconscious mind and its manifestation of outward behaviors, is a subset of Freud’s psychotherapy, which was specifically focused on the experiences during childhood that now manifest themselves through outward behaviors and feelings in the person.


In Teen Psychodynamic Therapy, the conflicts and issues that teens address are often very connected with deeply held beliefs, including those that are crucial to their identities, personalities, and proper development.  In some instances, therapy may actually work to provide the teens with the opportunity for a certain stage of development that was missed during the teen’s childhood, while the teen was “stuck” at an earlier stage of emotional development.  Such disruptions of proper development can happen for a number of different reasons, such as trauma or disruption.


Because of the nature of this work and the subsequent changes that teens work toward during Teen Psychodynamic Therapy, it’s often implemented as a long-term form of therapy, to give the adequate time for such deep-rooted changes to take place.  However, it can also be used in more intensive, short-term therapy sessions, with the goal that the intervention of this kind of deep introspective work will spark a lasting process of change in the teen.  Within this context, therapists usually work with teens to have a single focus during therapy sessions, rather than allowing them to talk freely, even on disconnected topics, like more traditional “talk-therapy” sessions.  The reason for these boundaries within the therapy sessions is for the teens to thoroughly and adequately address the unconscious issue and its many effects, rather than a number of different qualities of the teens’ lives, which may or may not have any connection to the issue at hand.


Teen Psychodynamic Therapy has been shown to be successful in treating a number of different Mental Health conditions, including Substance Abuse, Anxiety and stress issues, Depression, and more.  We find that it’s especially valuable in the context of being used in conjunction with other complementary therapies, such as more traditional talk-therapy sessions, Experiential Therapy sessions, and Group Therapy sessions.  Since so very many treatment techniques and approaches speak to the need to address the underlying beliefs and thoughts of the teenager in order to successfully address the negative outward behaviors, this form of therapy is a targeted approach in which our therapists help teens to address the deeper levels of their experience.


One of the most significant benefits of Teen Psychodynamic Therapy is its success with having lasting results in teens, since the nature of the method is to encourage teens to fully and completely address the most base-level issue.  Because of this, it’s a very valuable technique in helping to ensure that the teens are addressing the deeper problems at play, which sets them up for recovery and growth that really lasts.