"Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength." - Sigmund Freud
Psychoanalysis is a process of self discovery as it unfolds within an intense therapeutic relationship. Freud developed the method of free association in which the patient is to say whatever comes to mind without censoring or amending the flow of memories or ideas. The psychoanalytic approach views symptoms and problems in daily life as manifestations of the patient’s inner-life, reflecting enduring patterns that developed to cope with earlier relationships or traumatic experiences. These patterns persist and determine the way the patient feels about himself, the way he attempts to get his needs met, and the way he interacts with other people. Current life situations trigger this old behavior and result in feelings and actions based in both the past and the present.
In our highly complex world today, psychoanalysis offers a distinguished and renowned treatment for emotional discomfort or pain, an avenue for self-discovery and personal growth, and a means toward establishing and enhancing personal relationships with others. Bolstered by current psychoanalytic studies (including clinical research in childhood development, memory, neurobiology, and culture) psychoanalysis has reemerged as a frontline research method and intra-psychic, insight-oriented therapy that treats a wide variety of psychiatric problems such as anxiety, depression, work difficulties, troubled relationships, sexual concerns, and feelings of emptiness, isolation, and loneliness.
Psychoanalysis is fundamentally different from other forms of psychological treatment in that it (i) focuses on the full range of emotions that a patient is experiencing, (ii) explores a patient’s avoidance of certain feelings, thoughts, and situations and the patient’s understanding of the need for avoidance, (iii) identifies repetitive behavior patterns that are often unconscious and self-destructive, (iv) explores the patient’s family of origin, and how one’s past experiences may be influencing and shaping present emotional and relational difficulties—this process can help patients work through the emotional bonds of past experiences and consequently live more freely and fully in the present, (v) explores interpersonal relationships with others, both current and past, (vi) emphasizes and explores the relational patterns and interactions that emerge between a patient and therapist throughout the treatment relationship, (vii) encourages patients to talk freely about fears, anxieties, desires, dreams, fantasies, etc. (this therapeutic technique is called “Free Association,” and is unstructured, free-flowing, open-ended, and painstakingly authentic and honest rather than rigidly prescribed, structured, determined, or goal-oriented).