I work as a psychodynamic counsellor and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Both disciplines are based on the same fundamental principles; which is to help the client bring to the surface their true feelings so they can experience and understand them. They both follow the basic assumption that everyone has an unconscious mind, and that feelings held in the unconscious mind are often too painful to be felt, and faced. In response we devise defences to protect us from having to acknowledge (and feel) painful feelings. An example of defences we might use are denial (of a problem or how we behave or feel), or anger, which usually disguises more painful feelings such as hurt and betrayal.
Psychodynamic counselling tends to focus on more immediate problems, and is suitable for clients who are not experiencing re-occurring difficulties that have lasted for a long time.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is more intensive than counselling, with clients attending between one and three times a week, rather than the usual once a week with counselling. It is often beneficial for people who want to understand the origin of their problems, and is particularly helpful for those who feel that their difficulties have affected their life for a long period of time, and they need to find a way of relieving their mental and emotional distress. I work together with these individuals to understand their inner (unconscious) life through deep exploration, which is why often more than one session a week is required.
Both approaches are based on the same principles and the major difference between them is the depth of exploration into which a client wishes to go. This will obviously affect the length of time spent in therapy. Long term therapy is not for everyone, nor is it needed by everyone, and therefore individual needs are taken into account and respected.