What is psychoanalytic treatment? Psychoanalysis is a specialized type of intensive psychotherapy that involves an honest commitment to discover “truth in the inward parts”. It offers a unique method of thinking and working therapeutically. Psychoanalysis provides a comprehensive method of exploring the influences of unconscious mental processes on everyday life and its contribution to emotional difficulties. It can be very instrumental in developing a mature mind that is as free as possible from unsatisfying or painful patterns of living.
In this type of therapy, you will work in close collaboration with your analyst. You and Dr. Veurink will maintain disciplined attention on the interactions of your internal thought life and your interpersonal (i.e. relational) experience. The treatment will focus on both past and present experience – especially the present. It will also focus on your experience of both your mind and body. We will work to understand your subjective experience of shared reality as well as your private thoughts and dreams – including those thoughts that you may initially be unaware of. This type of in depth exploration can set in motion an insightful process of personal transformation that often provides great relief from mental anguish; albeit not usually immediately.
What is the format of psychoanalytic treatment? A common stereotype is that patients lie on a couch while doing psychoanalysis. In fact, many individuals find that lying on an analytic couch allows them to speak more freely about their most personal concerns. It also assists the therapist by providing a freedom from constant visual scrutiny while he ponders the ideas and feelings presented by the patient. In this way, the use of the couch can promote a more ready access to unconscious experience. For others, however, the contact of face-to-face dialogue seems essential to the formation of the relationship with the analyst. Analysis is conducted both ways. Together, you and Dr. Veurink will decide what type of format will be most conducive to the work.
Psychoanalytic process is complex. Psychoanalysis usually requires multiple sessions per week conducted over a significant period of time. This process weaves a tapestry in which you and your therapist can explore the rich textures of your relationships with others and yourself. The ample contact between you and your analyst allows for your dilemmas to come to life within the intricacies of the psychoanalytic relationship. This is called “transference”.
The frequency of your treatment is a powerful stimulus for psychological conflicts and emotional needs to surface in the sessions. The goal is that they be clearly felt and be discernable to both you and your analyst. Sessions that are scheduled serially during the week best foster the analytic inquiry while providing containment of distress. Decisions about the structure of the weekly schedule and the frequency of sessions needed to sustain the psychoanalytic process are reached jointly.
A frequency of one or two times a week is normally considered to be psychoanalytic psychotherapy rather than psychoanalysis. While it is a powerful tool for personal change, it does not have the advantage of serial contact during the week. It is less evocative of the transference and provides you with less daily support than psychoanalysis with its more frequent contact.
Who might benefit from psychoanalytic treatment? People seek psychoanalytically informed treatment for many reasons. Some seek help with overwhelming stress. They hope to increase their capacity to deal with the demands of their daily lives. Others seek help with emotional disorders like anxiety or depression. They often are looking for relief from their suffering. Some enter into treatment in order to come to terms with the pain of past traumatic experience. There are also individuals that feel stuck in their lives. They may fear being hopelessly destined to repeat distressing patterns that prevent them from experiencing lives of satisfaction and meaning.
Finally, some pursue psychoanalytic treatment in order to grow. They seek an increase in self-understanding and maturity. They may hope for a greater sense of internal substance and more creativity in their lives. Psychoanalysis has proven to be life-changing to many who have been willing to make a covenant with their analyst to commit to one another a time of their lives – time set aside to find “truth in the inward parts”.