Psychodynamic Practice at Ferndearle

Psychodynamic practice stems from Freud and has developed with many followers as a branch of psychology. At Ferndearle we have used psychodynamic theory to inform practice since our inception in 2001. We understand the young people’s behaviour as being influenced both by the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind. We believe that childhood experiences shape personality and that these experiences impact on individuals as adults. From this perspective, it is believed that traumatic childhood events can remain in the unconscious and unless worked with can cause fundamental problems long into adulthood. This perspective teaches us that all behaviour has a meaning and that the unconscious is a driving force behind it.


When dealing with behaviour at Ferndearle, we therefore use a psychodynamic approach to attempt to understand the underlying reasons for the behaviour rather than concentrate only on the behaviour itself. We analyse behaviour as a form of communication which can give us powerful glimpses into the inner world of the child. These glimpses can enable us to respond with appropriate parenting interactions that serve to affect change.

We use the psychodynamic understanding of the existence of powerful unconscious defence mechanisms such as transference, projection, repression and denial to help us to understand how the child is functioning. The identification of these defence mechanisms during interactions again gives powerful glimpses into the inner world of the child. .

Psychodynamic individual therapy

Where required, children within Ferndearle have access to Psychodynamic Therapy. This provides them with weekly individual therapy in a room where they have the opportunities to play out their inner-most feelings of trauma and abuse. The thinking of Freud recognises that the repetitive play out of trauma enables young people to gain mastery of previously held feelings of disempowerment and helps them to progress their sense of self more positively.

Much of the progress is through the development of a positive therapeutic relationship and at times this will include aspects of transference and projection taking place, even to the point where many children go through periods of denial or rejection of the process and of the therapist. The holistic service of Ferndearle means that we are all able to support this process and encourage the child to work through any difficulties s/he is having. Where perhaps previous therapy experiences have ended when things get emotionally difficult for a child, we are proud to report that the majority of our children remain in therapy until they are emotionally mature enough to end the therapy.

Positive working enables young people to frequently regress and develop the child parts of themselves that they did not have the opportunities to develop. Along with this roleplay, a learning of new attachment patterns takes place and the child is able to take his/her new found means of interacting and newly acquired sense of self-worth into other contexts.

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