In therapy you can explore past experiences, current challenges or hopes for the future
Psychodynamic and psychoanalytic therapy are designed to address underlying, complex and long-standing issues, which may have origins in childhood. You will be encouraged to talk freely and look more deeply into your concerns and relationships. Like psychoanalysis, psychotherapy focuses on exploring unconscious conflicts which may be driving your behaviour and symptoms, and it relies on the therapeutic alliance -- the relationship between patient and therapist -- to work effectively.
In psychodynamic psychotherapy, people usually attend sessions once or twice a week, and treatment may be brief or longer term. As more deep-seated issues take time to untangle, psychoanalytic psychotherapy tends to be a lengthier and more intensive treatment. It’s common for patients to attend two, three or four sessions per week, for one or more years.
The increased intensity of psychoanalytic psychotherapy and length of treatment facilitate the therapeutic process – through improved continuity, and allowing time to get to grips properly with a specific issue -- and thus it tends to promote more lasting change.
Read here about the evidence base for psychoanalytic therapies
Whatever the frequency, a commitment to therapy in terms of time and a willingness to address entrenched patterns is essential if your difficulties are to change.
The evolving therapeutic relationship and the here-and-now of the session are important aspects of psychoanalytic therapy, providing opportunities for learning first-hand through a live emotional experience. In practice, this means that at times I may explore whether some of the feelings and conflicts you encounter in your everyday life and relationships are being experienced in your relationship with me.
Psychotherapy aims not just for symptom relief, but as you come to know unacknowledged aspects of yourself, to help you find out what it means to be you and to live more fully.
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This is a high-frequency treatment based on the observation that we are often unaware of the forces that determine our emotions and behaviour. These unconscious dynamics, drives and deeply held beliefs are a fundamental part of being human, but they may also cause us distress and unhappiness. They can take the form of troubling symptoms, inhibitions or personality traits, difficulties in love relationships or at work, or disturbances in mood and self-esteem. Because they’re unconscious, our attempts to resolve them on our own may fail to provide lasting relief.
Our emotions influence our thoughts and behaviour in many ways, affecting everyday living and relating. Psychoanalysis, with sessions four or five times a week over several years, can provide the opportunity to make deep and profound changes and live a more satisfying life, as you gradually come to appreciate how your experiences have made you who you are. The stable, confidential structure and frequency give us time to observe and understand what is happening at a deeper level. Similar to psychotherapy, the patient-analyst relationship plays an important role in psychoanalysis Find out more
Psychotherapy or Psychoanalysis?
When we meet, you can tell me about yourself and your situation. You may have questions about therapy and how I work. After the initial meeting, we may want to have a few more preliminary sessions. This will give us time to get to know each other and to decide whether working together would be helpful, and to determine the best treatment option for you.
You don’t need to feel in need of “treatment” to benefit from a psychoanalytic or psychotherapeutic exploration of your inner world and ways of coping with people, relationships and your environment.
A desire to know yourself better, and perhaps to function better in the world, may be sufficient motivation to engage in psychoanalytic psychotherapy with a qualified psychoanalyst.