What is psychoanalytic psychotherapy?
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy (also referred to as dynamic psychotherapy) is a talking therapy for the treatment of emotional suffering and distress. It helps us get to the core of our problems by attending not just to our immediate concerns, but also by attending to the dynamics that underlie and perpetuate our difficulties. It takes into account the unconscious part of our minds, which can profoundly influence our mental functioning, affecting how we perceive the world, the way we think and feel, and therefore how we behave.
Problems originating in our early years
The way we develop emotionally is influenced from an early age by the nature of our relationships with the significant people in our lives, and by what happens to us. We find ways of managing the painful feelings that result from difficult experiences, and these coping or defence mechanisms tend to persist into adult life. Defences that form within the personality over time, as protection against psychological pain, often become problems in themselves. For instance, we may be stuck in old recurring patterns of feeling, thinking or doing things, which may be counterproductive, and no longer necessary. There may be underlying conflicts or dynamics that trap us in unhealthy relationships, bad habits, or hold us back from achieving what we want in life.
What to expect
The psychotherapist provides a private, confidential place where we can be listened to, accepted, and understood, without being judged.
Our ways of relating and behaving are reflected in the consulting room, and so can be examined at first hand. We see how past difficulties can get played out in the present, affecting our relationships and many aspects of our lives. The psychotherapist offers a way of understanding and addressing the feelings and conflicts which cause problems in our everyday life. Psychotherapy provides a powerful and immediate opportunity to learn about ourselves. This can be uncomfortable at times, but it is also a deeply rewarding process.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy can be conducted on an individual, couple or group basis. I currently see individuals and couples. In 2013, when my new consulting room space allows, I plan to offer group psychotherapy as well.
Becoming aware of our difficulties and understanding them, is the starting point for making changes that enable us to be happier within ourselves. Psychotherapy helps us become better able to cope with problems and manage them. It enables us to gain a stronger sense of who we are and how we function, and so gain more control, and conduct our lives more effectively. Developing more understanding of how our relationships work helps us to relate better with a partner and those around us. Through increased self-awareness, we can also improve our relationship to ourselves, becoming more comfortable and at ease with who we are, and freer to live life more fully and creatively.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is an evidence based treatment, and there are many studies which support its effectiveness. A recent research finding shows that it not only works, but keeps on working long after the therapy has come to an end. Click here to find out more.