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What is Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy?
Vastly evolved since its origins with Freud and Jung, psychoanalytic therapy still takes seriously the notion of unconscious forces that inform our actions, thoughts, and desires. The therapist's task is to explore unconscious themes and meanings in whatever problems, feelings, issues, and dreams present themselves to the client's conscious mind. The therapist also serves as a container for unconscious material (anger, sadness, fear) that is too painful for the client to endure alone.
How does it work?
The key to psychoanalytic therapy lies in the relationship between the therapist and the client. The analytic therapist creates an atmosphere of unconditional love and trust, with very clearly defined boundaries. Many - perhaps most - of us were brought up by parents whose own problems and fragilities got in the way of their good intentions. Every parent does the best s/he can, but often, sadly, the best isn't very good. By providing a second chance at developing a core relationship of intimacy, similar to that which exists between parent and child, psychoanalytic therapy can heal many core problems formed very early on. Through experiencing a healthy and loving originary relationship - with the resources of adult language and insight - one can actually re-form the psyche.
Who is it for?
Psychoanalytic work is most effective in treating long-term problems, where depression, low self-esteem, poor anger management, or a history of troubled relationships block someone from making choices freely and living with an openness to future possibilities. As a new psyche emerges in the space between therapist and client, new capacities are formed: the ability to trust, the capacity for intimacy, the freedom of hope.
Can I afford it?
Psychoanalytic therapy is no more expensive than any other form of psychotherapy. The sliding fee is determined by the number of visits per week or per month, and ranges from $30 - 75 per session. It is fully tax-deductible as a medical expense.
How long does it take?
Traditional psychoanalysis took months or years of patient (and expensive) treatment. We work more quickly these days, but the work is intense. For long-standing problems, there is no quick fix. However, once you begin, you will quickly realize if this method is right for you.
About the therapist
Psychoanalysis is the only form of talk therapy which insists that its practitioners first undergo the treatment themselves. After six years of analytic treatment, I have a knowledge of the process that no amount of book-learning can provide. I know what psychical pain feels like, and I know that this method works. In addition, because I love the field, I have a Master's Degree in psychoanalytic theory and am currently working on my doctorate. I am a licensed practitioner with twelve years' experience with individuals, families, and couples; a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis and the Western Massachusetts/Albany Association for Psychoanalytic Psychology.