The psychodynamic approach pays considerable attention to the past, particularly childhood influences. For many people ignoring the past and moving on is a habitual way of coping with life. Unfortunately they may get to a point where they realise they are repeating the same patterns again and again. These patterns can only be fully understood by looking backwards to understand their often complex origins.
All of us, at least to some extent, form ourselves out of the influences of our early caregivers. The human infant is born in a state of complete dependency and is reliant on it caregivers for its every need. These needs are both physical (i.e. food and warmth) and emotional (affection, consistency, love, validation etc). As a matter of survival it is important we know our caregivers very well and we often model ourselves on their behaviour or define ourselves out of our relationship to them.
It is in our earliest years that our core sense of self is formed and foundations for trust, security, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth and core identity. These early years and early relationships form the blueprints out of which we define ourselves and our relationships. If things are not working in our lives then it is time to look at the blueprints from which we are operating.
The psychotherapeutic setting is an opportunity to take time to take stock and observe life from a wider perspective. It can be a tremendous gift to be able to spend time remembering our formative years, to really allow the memories to surface, both joyful and painful. Such an approach allows us to look at our most basic patterns of relating and being and in so doing gain insights into our current functioning and thus gain more awareness of ourselves and enables us to make different and more satisfying life choices.