Psychodynamic therapy with a sociological bent by Dr Petra Bueskens

I work from a psychodynamic model, which means I work in and with the relationship between therapist and client, to effect change. This model places importance on an individual’s internal, including unconscious, world and how this creates “patterns” in the external world. From this perspective, change on the outside can only be effected by change on the inside.

However, I am also trained as a sociologist and, as such, I see that our “patterns” also relate to objective structures out in the world. We can’t always control what happens to us, like getting laid off at work, or being born into a time or place of war or, if we are women, that we will earn less money than men (in our own social group) and be more vulnerable to sexual assault.

Race, class, gender, culture, ability, sexuality, parental status, employment and so on are external realities that shape an individual’s access to resources, their treatment by others, and consequently their well-being and mental health. I work with clients to identify what’s going on internally and externally.

People usually come to therapy for troubles in relation to love and work. Unlike psychology or psychiatry, psychotherapy and counselling are not beholden to a medical model. I do not need to have someone “diagnosed” before they see me and I do not need to (though I can) diagnose an individual with a “mental health disorder” before commencing or continuing treatment.

I therefore see people in a preventative as much as a curative role. Some clients come to talk about problems or life stresses before they develop into mental health problems (for example issues related to grief and loss). For those who are suffering from mental illness, the most common reasons for coming to therapy include: depression and anxiety, addictions and, in more serious cases, post-traumatic stress and personality disorders.

Typical symptoms that bring people to therapy are persistent conflict in relationships, feeling down, irritability, unmanageable anger, crying, inability to concentrate, feeling isolated (including in a relationship), insomnia, flashbacks, addictions or bodily symptoms unrelated to medical problems such as headaches, back-aches and a general feeling of being unwell.

My areas of specialty include: transition to parenthood including issues related to birth, breastfeeding, motherhood and fatherhood; couples’ therapy – including issues pertaining to infidelity, persistent conflict, failure to connect, alienation, separation and divorce; sexuality issues, depression, pornography use/addiction and its impact on individuals and couples, anxiety, PTSD, and issues more generally related identity, purpose and meaning.

The goal of psychodynamic therapy is not only symptom alleviation but also the capacity to fulfill one’s potential and lead a meaningful life.

PPMD Therapy | Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Melbourne and Daylesford | Petra Bueskens B.A, (Hons), Grad. Dip. (Psych. & Couns.)