What is Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a process where patient and therapist work together to explore and understand the dynamics of one’s mind, from the roots of the presenting issues and the function of symptoms, to the unconscious meaning underneath relationship and behaviour patterns.
So in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy we will try to uncover what is unconscious in what is brought to the sessions, looking for the missing links that connect feelings and behaviours to what goes on in the mind, in the internal world. The psychotherapy process is a multi-dimensional work, encompassing both the past and the ‘here and now’, where therapist and client look into the many areas of life to explore and understand the struggles, the patterns, the conflicts and the relationships.
The initial consultation
First meetings tend to be anxiety provoking, and so it can be very difficult to ‘pour out your soul’ straight away to someone you just met. But in the first few sessions you will have the time and opportunity to tell me more about yourself and what has brought you to seek psychotherapy.
This first stage is called ‘initial consultation’, and it happens over 2 to 4 sessions. This is so we have enough time to explore in details your difficulties and what they might be related to. In these first sessions I will ask you some questions to clarify and get a better sense of what you are bringing, as well as share some of my thoughts with you.
In sum, the initial consultation stage is an opportunity for us to meet and have time to think about the issues you want help with and your expectations, also looking into ways in which psychotherapy can help you. There is, of course, no obligation to continue. But if we both agree that psychotherapy is the way forward, we will then discuss some practicalities of the therapy, such as: frequency, fees, absences, breaks, duration, etc.
In the consultation I will also explain how I work and you will have the opportunity to clarify any queries you might have in relation to the process.
If we both feel we can work together in psychotherapy you will then be asked to come either once or twice-a-week. Your sessions will happen at the same time and in the same place every week.
In an environment where there is continuity, confidentiality and containment you will be encouraged to speak your mind, to express any thoughts and feelings, however trivial or unclear they may seem at the time. I will help you to think about the meanings and states-of-mind underneath the words. By understanding what goes on in your internal world you will become more self-aware and will therefore feel more integrated and content in life.
My approach is a non-directive one, and this is so you have the freedom to establish your own pace, to go wherever you feel like in the session. A benefit of such approach is that any insights or breakthroughs achieved in the sessions will come from within you and it will be yours to keep. I will help you to reach those precious moments of awareness by interpreting what may be going on underneath the surface.
As we carry on with the sessions you will gradually be more able to understand the roots of your difficulties and to rethink the issues that may be holding you back so you can better accept yourself and move on in the different areas of your life.
Every aspect of the work is strictly confidential and non-judgmental.
Psychotherapy can help improve your confidence and your self-awareness, also promoting the development of a new network of meanings and perspectives in life. It is a great commitment, but one that brings about a great sense of freedom.
What to do next?
Choosing a therapist is a very personal decision. This is why it is important to take time in the beginning to explore your needs, your difficulties and carefully think about how psychoanalytic psychotherapy can help you.
When you first contact me you will have the chance to briefly tell me what it is you are looking for. If you wish we can then meet for an initial consultation in my consulting room in the City of London (Clerkenwell – EC1), where we will be able to explore your issues in depth and think about what they might be related to. It is also an opportunity for you to consider how it feels working with me as a therapist.