Anyone can turn to the Almighty Google and read a short description of what Psychoanalytic therapy is about. But if you are looking for an expert this would not be enough for you to know what to expect from a psychoanalytic psychotherapist.
We all know that “therapy” means healing, but what does healing mean?
Maybe it is to feel better, i.e., to have less anxiety or psychic pain, or fear and panic, or depression, or addiction to drugs, or food, or people or….
Maybe it means to know myself better, to pay more attention to my own internal world, to be more of a whole person, who builds worthwhile relationships with others.
Maybe it means to dampen down the anger and aggression, jealousy and envy, that I carry within myself and try without success to control.
…to know more about all this and to be heard and to hear my own voice talking about feelings and events of the past and present.
I am seeking therapy because I am suffering. The suffering has many faces, but it is always unique and personal. Am hoping to get relief, but I am not sure how would this come about. I could try and trust someone who next to their name have the signifier of a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist.
This means meeting someone in their consulting room, someone who has studied a long time in an academic education, who then has had their own personal analysis/therapy with an experienced analyst/therapist and had undergone an extensive training and continues their training while working with you. And who, during his work is working with a supervisor. And all this is aimed at not only understanding you, but also at being able to foster a therapeutic relationship with you in order to be able to bear and contain your feelings and experiences, to be able to find their meaning with you, so that they become something that can be worked through. This is a relationship, different from any other relationships you may have, but also one that has the characteristics and feelings of your relationships with the most important people in your life. The psychoanalytic psychotherapist works with the transference and counter transference – these are the feelings that occur between the two of you in the therapeutic relationship. These feelings are immediate, they occur in the session. They are unconscious, but with your therapist’s help they can become conscious.
The psychoanalytic psychotherapist works with the unconscious, which is manifested in our speech, dreams, thoughts, movements…
Your therapist has to integrate all this and to make an interpretation. This is the words of the therapist containing your feelings, thoughts – conscious and unconscious – and experiences in the here and now. An interpretation could sometimes be a thought that leads to a change in your psychic world. It could modulate the pain, re-organise the psychic stage, shed light to parts of you, that are important and valuable for you.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy requires time and perseverance, but you as a person, deserve this.