Core principles and characteristics of psychodynamic therapy includes; an emphasis on the centrality of intra-psychic and unconscious conflicts and their relation to development. Additionally, defenses are seen as developing in internal psychic structures to avoid unpleasant consequences of conflict. Psychopathology is believed to develop from early childhood experiences with a view that internal representations of experiences are organized around interpersonal relations and a conviction that life issues and dynamics will re-emerge in the context of the client-therapist relationship as transference and counter-transference.
Psychodynamic therapy is effective for childhood sexual abuse, family of origin problems or any problems that arise from childhood. Art therapy often utilizes psychodynamic principles.