The term ‘psychodynamic’ arose early in the 20th century in the context of the development of psychoanalytic theories related to nature and influence of unconscious mental processes. These mental processes are both active and influential within our minds and yet operate outside of our conscious awareness. And these unconscious mental processes, which have their origins in our early developmental years, may exert a powerful influence on how we feel, on how we think and, importantly, on how we relate to others. And these unconscious mental processes may at times profoundly compromise our efforts to work toward the achievement of our chosen goals.
The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as ‘partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential’. Psychodynamic coaching is fully aligned the ICF definition of coaching. Its purpose is to nurture the development within you of a capacity for personal insight into connections between the problems you are facing in your present professional/personal circumstances and your own personal history and then to support your development of a realistic plan for the achievement of your self-chosen goals.
In the process of psychodynamic coaching I will be personally engaged with you and my attention will be directly focused on you. I will be asking you to tell me about the challenge you are encountering and about the organizational context in which this is happening. And I will also be asking you about yourself, your personal history, your values and your patterns of relating to others. We will be working closely together to discover as much as we can about you – to discover information that will be of great value to you in the resolution of the problem you are facing.
At the same time I will work indirectly by being openly receptive to the unconscious communications that may take place in the context of the coaching relationship. I will reflect on these unconscious communications and then offer thoughtful explicit communications to you to facilitate the development of personal insight that is relevant to the problem you are facing and the goal that you are seeking to achieve.
My ability to offer to you a safe, respectful, thoughtful and fully confidential environment is crucial to the process of psychodynamic coaching. And it is within this respectful and reflective relationship that your self-understanding will evolve and that realistic plans will emerge for you to resolve the issue you have been struggling with and to achieve your chosen goal.
I have practiced as a psychoanalyst for 30 years and I now bring to the process of psychodynamic coaching both my understanding of the nature and influence of unconscious mental processes and my determination to be helpful to those who are facing challenges that may seem to them at the moment to be insurmountable and to help them to achieve their chosen goals.