Initiated by Freud’s groundbreaking theories and refined and developed through the last century and up to today, psychoanalysis relies on talk therapy. The psychoanalytic method defines the cutting edge of effective, substantive mental health intervention.
Psychoanalysis is based on the recognition that individuals are often unaware of many unconscious factors that determine their emotions and behavior. These may create states of unhappiness or confusion, problems in work or in love relationships, disturbances in mood and self-esteem, or perhaps a sense of general overall dissatisfaction. Unaware of what underlies these feelings and behaviors, the advice of friends and family, the reading of self-help books, or even the most determined efforts often fail to provide relief. Psychoanalytic treatment illuminates how these unconscious factors affect current relationships and patterns of behavior, how current life difficulties can be linked to historical, now unconscious, origins. By Deciphering old patterns and increasing self-awareness all of us learn to better deal with the realities, difficulties and appreciation of all life has to offer.
Analysis is an intimate partnership. Analyst and patient work together as a team, uncovering step by step, the underlying sources of the patient’s difficulties, not simply intellectually, but emotionally as well. This analytic process permits the emergence of thoughts, feelings and motivations often out of the awareness of the patient. Through conversation, hints of the unconscious sources of current behavior and feeling states gradually begin to appear. Patient and analyst begin to take note of repetitive patterns of behavior or ways of relating to others, even as they occur within the therapeutic relationship. The analyst helps elucidate these patterns for the patient, who in turn, refines, corrects, rejects, and adds further thoughts and feelings. Throughout the analytic process, the patient wrestles with these new insights, creatively reviewing them with the analyst and becoming increasingly aware of their presence in daily life, in fantasies, and in dreams.
Patient and analyst join in efforts not only to modify crippling life patterns and remove incapacitating symptoms, but also to expand the freedom to work and to love. Eventually, the patient’s life, his or her behavior, relationships, sense of self, changes in deep and abiding ways.