In Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, the focus is on the person’s conscious and unconscious assumptions about relationships and how these are played out with the therapist. So past experiences resurface and can be thought about in a live way.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is an exploratory psychotherapy which seeks to go beyond short term support or symptom relief to a deeper understanding of the whole person.
The therapist listens and lets the person in therapy set the agenda.
The therapist avoids imposing his / her own view, and the person is asked in turn to live with the uncertainty this can bring.
Outcome studies of different therapeutic modalities support the claim that the crucial factor differentiating sucessful from unsucessful therapy is not the particular therapeutic model as such but the quality of the therapeutic relationship between patient and therapist, an issue of central focus in psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Trained mental health professionals from a variety of professions provide psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
They will typically have at least a masters level training or be under supervision as a trainee therapist.
The highest level of qualification in psychoanalysis is to be a registered member of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA). Training usually takes around 10-15 years in the national/regional psychoanalytic society, in addition to previously studied psychotherapy and psychological academic degrees.
Dr Joseph Dodds is a Psychoanalyst with the IPA and the Czech Psychoanalytical Society.
Before starting therapy you will meet with your psychotherapist to discuss a regular time for your sessions and other practicalities such as arrangements in case of illness, cancellation, holidays etc.
Typically a 3-5 session assessment period is initiated to assist in diagnosis, to assess the suitable ‘fit’ between client and therapist, and to decide on the best form of treatment for the specific patient and their problems.
Sessions are held in the same room, at the same time each week.
In psychoanalytic therapy, the therapist does not generally structure or direct the sessions but allows the person to talk about whatever comes to their mind. This is known as free association. This may feel uncomfortable at first as most people are used to being given advice or led in encounters with health professionals.
The therapist does not disclose personal information or make any physical contact with their patient.
These factors allow a person’s most important underlying issues and emotions to surface and the ways they relate to others to be revealed most clearly in the therapy.
Some people experience some intensification of their anxieties and symptoms during therapy, especially at the start and around holiday breaks. This is also a sign of increased involvement with the therapeutic process.
Work in therapy on these areas can help the individual better understand his emotions and relationships and feel freer to lead a more fulfilling, creative life.