Psychoanalytic Inquiry: Where the Mind and the Brain Meet on the Frontier of Thought™
When psychotherapy is not enough, psychoanalysis is the treatment of choice.
As a therapy, psychoanalysis is based on the observation that individuals are often unaware of many of the factors that determine their emotions and behaviors. These unconscious factors may create unhappiness, sometimes in the form of recognizable symptoms and at the other times as troubling personality traits, difficulties in work or in love relationships, or disturbances in mood and self-esteem. Analysis is an intimate partnership in the course of which the patient becomes aware of the underlying sources of his or her difficulties not simply intellectually, but emotionally - by re-experiencing those sources with the analyst.
Typically, the patient comes in four or five times a week, lies on the couch, and attempts to say everything that comes to mind. These conditions create the analytic setting, which permits the emergence of aspects of the mind not accessible to other methods of observation. As the patient speaks, hints of the unconscious sources in the current difficulties gradually begin to appear in repetitive life patterns and the way in which the patient relates to the analyst.
The analyst helps elucidate these patterns for the patient who refines, corrects, rejects, and adds further thoughts and feelings. During the years that an analysis takes place, the patient wrestles with these insights, going over them again and again with the analyst and experiencing them 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.
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