You may be wondering what psychoanalytic therapy is, how it works, and how you can benefit from it.
What is Psychoanalytic Therapy?
Making links and breaking patterns
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is based on the theory that difficulties experienced in the present often have roots in the past and that we learn patterns of relating to ourselves and others from our early relationships and experiences. These experiences and relationship patterns from the past impact on our current relationships in ways we are often unaware of. Psychoanalytic therapy involves talking to a listener who is trained to help make sense of, and resolve difficulties and recurring patterns which are causing distress and negatively affect your ability to function at home, work or in social life.
Psychoanalytic therapy is exploratory and non-judgemental and based on the founding ideas of Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott as well as modern developments of their work. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy has a great influence on the development of many other therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour therapy and Humanistic therapy.
"Making Sense of Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis" published jointly by the Psychoanalytic Council and Mind provides a useful description of this and other therapies. It can be helpful in trying to decide what therapy will suit you best.
How Does Psychoanalytic Therapy Work?
Building a relationship of trust and working through your difficulties
The aim of psychoanalytic therapy is to help you understand the underlying reasons for your fears, problematic relationships and memories. At the heart of this therapy is the relationship between the therapist and the client. In the safety of this deeply authentic relationship you will be encouraged to speak about whatever is in your mind and be helped to express your most troubling thoughts and feelings and gain an understanding of how past experiences can 'live on' in your present feelings, thoughts and behaviour. The increased awareness of your inner world and motivations for your behaviour and patterns of relating provide a basis for positive changes in your mental and physical health and ability to manage your life.
What are the Benefits of Therapy?
Insight, empowerment and the potential for change
The benefits of psychoanalytic therapy extend much beyond the relief of symptoms such as anxiety and depression. In addition, psychoanalytic therapy aims to help you gain a better understanding of yourself and others and to foster the positive presence of inner resources and capacities that allow you to resolve past painful experiences, to have more fulfilling relationships, to face challenges with a greater sense of flexibility, to make better use of talents and abilities and to meet your personal needs. Psychoanalytic therapists believe that helping people to understand the underlying roots of their problems is more effective than behavioural training, specific advice, reassurance or techniques which try to banish distressing thoughts and feelings.
Who Can Benefit from Therapy?
You may be here because you feel overwhelmed by emotional or psychological difficulties which are making it difficult to function in one or more areas of your life. Sometimes people seek help for specific reasons such as trauma, relationship problems, loss or an eating disorder. Others seek therapy because of a more general sense of depression and anxiety, the inability to form satisfactory relationships and a general sense of dissatisfaction with their lives.
Clients seeking therapy experience difficulties with the following issues:
- Major depressive episode
- Longstanding chronic depression
- Ongoing persistent mild depression
- Post-natal depression
- Mixed depression & anxiety
- Bi-polar disorder
- Generalised anxiety disorder (excessive worry)
- Social Anxiety
- Panic Attacks
- Childhood abuse(sexual, physical, verbal, emotional) and neglect
- Adulthood trauma including domestic abuse (physical, sexual, verbal, emotional & financial)
- Issues of identity and sexuality
- Difficulties in forming relationships
- Abusive relationship
- Separation & divorce
- Personality Disorder
- Loss and bereavement
- Work-related stress
- Obsessional behaviours
- Psychosomatic illness
- Body dysmorphic disorder