Psychoanalysis is a special form of psychotherapy in which you and your therapist work together intensively on struggles about how you feel, how you view yourself, how you relate to others and how you live your life.
Psychoanalysis can help you identify, understand, and resolve underlying conflicts that are burdening you so that you will be able to live a life with greater freedom and satisfaction. Many people who have completed a psychoanalysis report that their lives have been immeasurably enriched and their horizons substantially expanded.
How can psychoanalysis help?
Psychoanalysis differs from other psychotherapies in its focus, depth and method. Other therapies help you solve particular problems. In psychoanalysis, specific problems are viewed in the context of the whole person. The quest for self-knowledge is the most important key to changing attitudes and behavior.
Psychoanalysts believe that what happens first to the infant and then to the child shapes the way we see the world, the kind of relationships we form, the way we feel about ourselves in relation to others and the needs we seek to have fulfilled. Through the process of psychoanalysis we can delve deeply into that past to re-experience and re-examine the formative and sometimes painful experiences we had during the growing up years—both the good and the bad.
How does psychoanalysis work?
Psychoanalysis is designed to help you get in touch with memories, feelings and desires that are not readily available to your conscious mind; it is designed to help you understand how your unconscious feelings and thoughts affect the way you act and react, think and feel today. As a result of this process you can act more effectively on your own behalf.
You and your analyst will meet more often than in other types of therapy.
You may find that lying on the analytic couch helps you to talk more freely and to understand aspects of yourself that might not become apparent in less intense psychotherapy.
In psychoanalysis, you and your therapist will explore feelings and fantasies, dreams and ideas that you may have struggled with for a long time and of which you may have been unaware. Through the relationship with your analyst, you will work on resolving conflicts, thus freeing yourself from struggles that have interfered with your leading a more satisfying life.
Psychoanalysis entails a deep commitment on your part. You will meet with your analyst multiple times a week, probably for a number of years and you will delve deeply into yourself. The rewards may be profound.