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-What is dynic therapy and how can it treat codependency?

-How can dynamic therapy help us develop awareness of our internal world?

-What are the initial steps you can take to get clear on what your thinking, feeling, and needing?

Welcome to Episode 141! This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Ann Krajewski about her specialty: dynamic therapy. In the episode, you’ll hear Dr. Ann define dynamic therapy and how it can help treat codependency. Dr. Ann describes how codependency is perceived through a dynamic lens and it’s emphasis on helping codependents understand their internal world. We explore defense mechanisms, a key concept in dynamic therapy, as well as the most common defense mechanisms amongst codependents. We conclude with Dr. Ann sharing the initial steps she takes with her clients to heal their relationships with others and themselves. It’s a must-listen!

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Dr. Ann Krajewski is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Virginia. She works with adults who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, low self-esteem, and codependency. She assists her clients in healing their relationship with others and themselves so they can live a more full and satisfying life.

More deets on the episode:

We begin with hearing Dr. Ann’s definition of codependency. She emphasizes how codependency often develops in individuals who “had something happen to them.” This contributes to an underdevelopment in their sense of self that results in them being attuned to the wants/needs of others while being disconnected from themselves. Ann provides examples, including having a narcissistic parent, experiencing trauma, being the victim of abuse, or chronic neglect.

Dr. Ann opens up about codpedency in her own life, personal and professional. As a practitioner, she was codependent on the input and advice from others. Personally, she was convinced her life was “over” after a long-term relationship ended. The latter experience revealed to Dr. Ann that she had unhealed parts of herself to work on (love that term ‘unhealed parts,’ right?).

We shift to Dr. Ann’s specialty: dynamic therapy. She shares how the dynamic approach to therapy is based in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic theory. The emphasis in dynamic therapy is to help a client understand their internal world–how it was formed, how it is sustained, and the patterns that maintain it. She highlights the focus on helping clients put words to their experience in order to develop insights to change their patterns.

Dr. Ann details how codependency is seen through a dynamic therapy lens. In the relational sense, codependency develops when needs or feelings are denied/dismissed which results in an underdevelopment in their sense of self. Through the internal aspect, there is a focus on the defense mechanisms that are used (unconsciously) to manage thoughts and feelings. The emphasis is to get to the origin of our defense mechanisms.

We discuss common defense mechansims of codependents, including projection, reaction formation, and turning against the self to avoid feelings like anger, grief, and sadness.

Dr. Ann offers the initial steps she takes with her clients to help them heal their relationships with others and themselves. She aims to help her clients develop an understanding of what is happening/their reality, helps them articulate what they are thinking/feeling/experiencing, focus on talking about themselves and their reality, and gives them agency as it is deeply uncomfortable to think for themselves.

Thanks for coming on Dr. Ann!! And thank you for listening, my dear listener!
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