How Does Therapy Help?
Excerpted and adapted from the Division of Psychoanalysis (Division 39) of the American Psychological Association Brochure entitled:
"The Tapestry of Psychoanalysis: A Textured Human Relationship"
What is psychoanalysis, or psychoanalytically informed psychotherapy?
Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy are unique forms of intensive psychotherapy that foster personal development and liberation from unsatisfying or painful patterns of living. Inpursuit of those goals, the individual in a psychoanalytically informed therapy and the therapist work together in close collaboration. They pay careful attention to the interactions of personal and interpersonal experience, of past and present, of body and mind, of fantasy and reality. It isexpected that such an in-depth exploration can set in motion a process of personal transformation.
What kinds of problems can this type of therapy address?
People seek psychoanalytically informed treatment for many reasons. Some want help with specific emotional problems, like depression, anxiety, or stress, or are seeking to come to terms with a painful or traumatic personal history. Others may feel stuck in distressing patterns that prevent them from feeling satisfied, from connecting with others, or from finding meaning in their lives. Many people simply desire a deeper self-understanding or greater creativity in their personal lives.
How are therapy sessions structured?
The therapeutic process depends on the establishment of a safe, confidential, and collaborative therapeutic relationship. The frequency of sessions in a psychoanalytically informed treatment typically ranges from one to five times a week. Decisions about the duration of treatment, and frequency of sessions, are reached jointly between patient and therapist. Patient and therapist work together to understand the meaning of the patient's emotional reactions, thoughts, memories, fantasies, dreams, images, and sensations in an effort to alleviate personal suffering and to expand the capacity for work, love, and creativity.
Who is a psychoanalyst?
Graduate psychoanalysts are licensed mental health professionals like psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, or psychiatric nurses who have had extensive postgraduate training in psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic training consists of coursework, a personal analysis, and experience providing psychoanalysis under the supervision of senior analysts.