What is Psychotherapy

What is Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a one-to-one relationship between a psychotherapist and client. This process affords the client the opportunity to explore the problems or difficulties that prevent him from achieving his full potential.

It normally takes place on a weekly or twice weekly basis. The duration can be either open-ended or of fixed duration.

What happens in a session?

The client is invited to say whatever comes to mind no matter how irrelevant, embarrassing or unimportant it may seem. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy allows full range of expression of a client’s feelings. In many cases feelings that would not have been recognised or acknowledged heretofore. Sometimes these feelings can appear to be contradictory or threatening. The process can help the client attain emotional insight as distinct from intellectual insight. In many cases people may intellectually understand why they have a problem but yet are unable to do anything about it.

This form of therapy usually includes a discussion of past experience. It is not a case of discussing the past for its own sake. In many cases parts of your past experience live on in our present behaviour. Past experience often comes alive in the therapy room. The psychotherapist can help the client to become aware of, and leave behind, the shackles of past experience and live more fully in the present.

In many cases the therapist helps the client to identify recurring themes and patterns in his behaviour, thought patterns, feelings and relationships.  A client may be acutely aware of these patterns but may feel powerless to do anything about them e.g. a man who repeatedly finds himself drawn to partners who are emotionally unavailable or a woman who repeatedly sabotages herself when success is at hand.

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy also focuses on the client’s fantasy life. Often material such as dreams, daydreams, fears, fantasies, desires are a rich source of material for discovering how the person views self and others, makes sense of and interprets experience and how it may interfere with the capacity to find greater enjoyment and meaning in life,

Why is psychoanalytic psychotherapy different from other forms of therapy and counselling?

The effects of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy include, but also extend beyond, dealing with the problem at hand.  Depending on the person and the circumstances, these might include the capacity to have more fulfilling relationships, make more effective use of one’s talents and abilities, maintain a realistically based sense of self-esteem, tolerate a wider range of affect, have more satisfying sexual experiences, understand self and others in more nuanced and sophisticated ways, and face life’s challenges with greater freedom and flexibility. Such ends are pursued through a process of self-reflection, self-exploration, and self-discovery that takes place in the context of a safe and deeply authentic relationship between therapist and patient.


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