Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy
Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
“Love and work… work and love, that’s all there is” – Sigmund Freud
Psychotherapy is a way of being together and exploring the patient’s mind and using the relationship between the patient and the therapist as a forum; or platform, to understand what is going on in the room. This setting is created for the purpose of bringing into life all unresolved conflicts and traumas that are still burdening the patient and preventing her/him to fully experience her/his potential. The patient’s difficulty lies in the fact that the vast majority of every human being’s mental life is unknown to the person. We only know the tip of the iceberg of what is really going on in our brain. Because of this vast unconscious content the patient needs the psychotherapist’s help. The psychotherapist herself/himself has gone through a long personal therapy before being able to help the patient.
The aim of psychotherapy is freedom and truth. Freedom from the past and increased ability to be truthful and fully present in the here and now. In that sense psychotherapy relationship is a practice that increases the feeling of being real and it increases the sense of meaningfulness in patient’s life. It is not a spiritual practice per se but the outcome in most cases makes the patient feel more connected to the universe and other living creatures.
The length of psychotherapy varies. The sessions themselves are usually 50 minutes long and the frequency of the sessions varies; mostly one to two sessions per week. Most therapies continue for months, even for several years, but before starting the therapy it is practically impossible to estimate the length of time needed. Sometimes one session is enough to bring a shift that makes it possible for the patient to go on with her/his life with a new energy and vigor.
There are many different ideas about how to create permanent improvement in a patient’s life. Some therapies claim that only short intervention is needed. This might happen when the patient has in one way or other been working on his or her self-awareness for years before entering the therapy, but these ‘miracle cures’ are rare exceptions. Most patients need a longer input to change. There is also evidence coming from the recent brain research that shows how the brain structure itself changes during the therapy. Current studies of the functioning of the mirror neurons supports the long known clinical fact that fundamental changes happen during psychotherapy. The enormous complexity of our brain with its 100 billion neurons and each of them with their thousands of connections to other neurons makes it logical that it needs time to change and re-adjust itself.
Psychotherapy is a journey together with another human being. Most of it is fascinating and enjoyable, and part of the work is painful and upsetting and it creates very powerful feelings and emotions and a strong sense of mutuality and intimacy.