Underlying a psychoanalytic approach to therapy is the idea that the processes of the unconscious are about healing, or coming to live more fully. For some people it is enough to let that process go on in the background, but others find that working with a therapist things to change more easily, particularly if they feel “stuck”.
In your sessions, you choose what to talk about, and you and your therapist together try to understand what might be going on for you. Usually a therapist says relatively little, but may make connections and suggest new meanings. As the sessions progress it’s possible to understand more about how you come across to other people, and the impact of family, organisations and society on you. You may see yourself in a new light, and begin the process of change.
Memories of dreams, free associations, fantasies, and slips of the tongue are among the things which can be worked with. Some people find it helpful also to think about what’s going on in their creative or spiritual lives.
Limiting sessions to 50 minutes can seem artificial — we don’t normally organise our lives in 50 minute chunks — but in time that comes to be helpful. People often find that the apparent limit of a time boundary actually enables further understandings. If the sense is that the end of the session interrupted something, it’s worth thinking about that afterwards.
Everything said in sessions is confidential. Things are shared in supervision, to help reflection on the work, but this is anonymised, which means people can’t be identified.