1. Where can I find a good therapist/analyst?
Our “Find-a-therapist” service will help you find a clinician well matched to your needs.
2. How do psychoanalytic psychotherapies work?
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis take as a basic premise that there is something to be gained from talking regularly with someone whose perspective, training, skills, and experience allow for a kind of listening and understanding not typically available in everyday life.
The work of this kind of therapy involves exploring and understanding ways we have of thinking and feeling, beliefs/fantasies/fears we aren’t even aware of having, and ways of relating to others, all of which can often be at the root of repetitive difficulties.
By understanding oneself in this manner and in the context of the relationship with the therapist/analyst, it is possible to work through a wide variety of specific problems and personal concerns, to gain more satisfaction out of life, and to get relief from emotional pain and troubling symptoms. Issues that might get tackled include depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, relationship problems, self-esteem deficits, career issues, sexual difficulties, eating disorders, or identity questions.
3. What is talked about?
While psychoanalysis and psychotherapy are very much concerned with the present, they also concern themselves with the ways in which current events, interactions, and perceptions are shaped and influenced by past experiences and early relationships. In the pursuit of a greater understanding of a person’s life and mind, everything – feelings, beliefs, memories, dreams, even seemingly irrelevant passing thoughts, and especially the relationship that develops between therapist and patient – is considered worthy of a shared curiosity.
4. What is the role of the psychotherapist/psychoanalyst?
The therapist or analyst is an involved partner in psychoanalytically oriented treatments, helping to foster a safe, supportive environment that will enable authentic open self-exploration for the person seeking help. Over time, the relationship that forms between them becomes a means for understanding the symptoms and conflicts and ways of behaving and relating that have become problematic. Psychoanalytic therapists will spend a lot of their time listening but are engaged and interactive, not silent and withdrawn as they are in the popular imagination.
5. How are psychoanalysis and psychotherapy different?
Deciding on which mode of treatment would be best is a part of a process of mutual decision making between the person and the therapist. Psychoanalysis is the more intensive form of treatment. Sessions take place three, four, or five times a week, rather than once or twice weekly as they do in psychotherapy. The situation differs, as well, in that while psychotherapy usually is conducted sitting face-to-face, the analytic patient generally lies on a couch with the analyst sitting in a chair outside the patient’s line of vision. This is often a freeing experience for the patient who can then turn his or her attention more fully inward and speak more comfortably about all that comes to mind.
6. When is psychoanalysis most helpful?
Psychoanalysis is most helpful when problems seem to be repetitive, outside of conscious control and understanding, and rooted in self-defeating patterns and negative ways of feeling, thinking, and behaving in relationship to oneself and others. Psychoanalysis is often the treatment of choice for those who have had unsuccessful attempts with briefer, less intensive therapies as well as for those who, having begun with therapy, feel the need or desire to deepen the work. It is sometimes the case that more frequent sessions make a person feel more supported, better understood, and freer to reveal their most troubling thoughts.
7. Why make the choice to begin therapy or analysis?
Both therapeutic endeavors, psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, involve a unique setting, circumstance, and partnership through which remarkable personal development and lasting change are possible. Self-awareness can flourish; psychic pain and conflict can be reduced; coping, decision-making, and interpersonal skills can grow flexible and strong. And crucially, through psychoanalysis or psychotherapy, a person can develop the capacity to achieve far greater satisfaction and pleasure from work, love, and play.
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