Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

“Psychoanalysis is a way of listening, a way of living, a philosophy and an art form; a theory about the human condition and a clinical practice. It is an experience of being listened to, accepted, heard and validated; an experience of being “alone in the presence of another,” yet feeling utterly connected.” 

Some frequently asked questions about beginning treatment:

  • What can I expect during the first appointment? The first few sessions are meant for me to get to know you and understand the nature of your problem. You can expect that I will ask questions related to your presenting issue, make comments and ask for clarification. Typically, I spend the first appointments assessing the nature of your problem and addressing your most pressing concerns first.
  • How long is the session? The typical adult psychoanalytic psychotherapy session lasts 45 minutes, however, I meet with people for an hour, 60 minutes. 
  • How long does psychoanalytic psychotherapy last? There is no universal length that services all people. It takes time to make long-lasting changes in your life but most people, who enter psychoanalytic psychotherapy are ready to commit to a long-term treatment that may last a year, sometimes more.  
  • How do I know if psychoanalytic therapy is right for me? If you are the type of person, who wants to know why, is interested in your own dreams and want to find an explanation and deeper understanding of your thoughts, behaviors and symptoms, psychoanalytic psychotherapy is the right approach for you. Maybe you have been repeating the same thing over and over again with no different results or have tried different kinds of therapies and none seems to quite do it for you, or you seem to be struggling with relationships and making it work. All of the aforementioned are indicators that psychoanalytic psychotherapy may be the answer to your questions. 
  • Do I have to talk about my feelings? The simple answer is “yes.” However, it takes time. You are not expected to be able to verbalize how you feel right off the bat, sometimes that is even the goal in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, to re-connect to your feelings and find a way to put them into words.  
  • Are you going to think I am crazy if I told you …? No. In fact, that’s one of the most unique things about psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EVERYTHING is okay to talk about and there is NO JUDGEMENT or criticism.  
  • Is it okay to talk about sex in psychoanalytic psychotherapy? Yes. It takes time before people feel comfortable discussing such topics but as human beings, sexuality is a big part of who we are and of all places to discuss it, psychoanalytic psychotherapy is the place to do it. 
  • Is it normal to have had suicidal thoughts? Many people have thought about their own death in one shape or form. If you are often thinking about how you want to end your life, however, you may be at higher risk of suicide and seeking out therapy may be beneficial. Typically, there are reasons why people do not want to live anymore and many are treatable. 
  • Is it normal to have questioned my faith and can I talk about that in therapy? Doubt is one of the most human experiences. Everything human is normal and okay to bring up in therapy. 
  • How do I know if therapy is working? Typically, you know that therapy is working when the symptoms that brought you in begin to dissipate. For example, you came with overwhelming anxiety and that has decreased since you started therapy. 
  • I mostly struggle with anxiety. Is this psychoanalytic psychotherapy can address? Yes! Especially if you want to identify the reasons why and understand the meaning behind it. 
  • I have had traumatic experiences. Is this something psychoanalytic psychotherapy deals with? Absolutely! Working on establishing trust and safety between you and your therapist is first and then learning to live with the experience in an adjusted, healthy way is the goal. 
Have another question about psychoanalytic psychotherapy I did not answer? Email me

Want to read more about psychoanalysis? Check out my Practical Psychoanalysis Blog at PsychCentral, where I discuss how to apply psychoanalytic techniques and principals to modern problems and issues. It is meant for both mental health professionals and laypeople. 

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