Usually a person begins to consider psychotherapy because they are in emotional pain and are experiencing some type of difficulty in their life.  For example, you may be struggling with a relationship, suffering from a particular loss, or you may be in the midst of making a difficult transition.   Or you may be suffering from low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, or self-doubt.  Or, it may be because you feel stalled or trapped by something inside of yourself.  Or, maybe you feel a lack of motivation, or are plagued by a vague but pervasive feeling of malaise.  Or, perhaps you are considering psychotherapy for self-growth or to complete requirements in a training program.

Whatever the reason might be, individual psychoanalytic psychotherapy addresses your concern by focusing primarily on understanding and insight.  Its aim to help you learn about the areas inside of yourself, in particular those in your ‘unconscious inner world’ and outside your current grasp. Bringing these troubling areas into the light so that can be satisfactorily understood and resolved.  Of course, outside concerns, especially those with people, are addressed as part of this process.  This work involves me carefully listening to you, thinking about what you are saying, and creatively offering you ‘food for thought’.  In a sense, the relationship you and I form is the ‘laboratory’ in which you and I can learn and help you make new discoveries about yourself and give you new options in dealing with whatever struggles you might be having.

Part of this work of discovering and understanding your ‘internal world’ process and its relationship to the outside world involves — as best as you are able to — bringing up whatever thought and feelings you might be having (especially if they relate to your feelings, thoughts, or experience of me)—it is in this way you and I am able to get to a deeper awareness of relationships formed early on inside of you which carry an inordinate amount of influence in your current experience of yourself, others, and the world.  In other words, the relationship you and I form should aid you in thawing deeply frozen aspects inside yourself and gradually allow them to come to the surface so they can be experienced, thought about, and worked through.   The goal of this increased awareness to help transform your emotional, as well as cognitive, interpersonal and behavioral life, with a by-product typically resulting in positive changes in your outside circumstances.

This type of psychotherapy takes time.  A quick solution is always desirable especially in today’s often-rushed world.  However, in the realm of emotional development, quick ‘solutions’ are almost always short-lived and often leave one with feelings of disappointment (if not failure).   Although achieving genuine and lasting change is not easy—it is quite upsetting to upset one’s status quo even though it may be causing considerable distress—it is always possible if you are motivated, curious and can tolerate risk and have a therapist who is well trained, experienced and of solid character who listens closely, is non-judgmental, and who can help you make sense of your experience.