‘We repeat what we don’t repair.’
‘I can see no way out but through.’
When we come into psychotherapy with a plethora of issues, we hope it will ameliorate our pain. Obviously, how much this is achieved will depend on both patient and therapist. Not everyone who has psychotherapy will experience all the benefits listed below.
As we have seen, the research evidence does indicate that psychoanalytic psychotherapy can be very effective.
It might help us to –
1. Gain self-understanding and awareness, through various techniques and therapeutic experiences, over time. This self- understanding often lasts and develops throughout our life, once we have the tools to apply it.
2. Help us feel accepted and learn to accept ourselves and others.
3. Give us alternative viewpoints; to soften a black and white approach to life and to accept there are no absolutes, only shades of grey. Assist us in accepting we-and those around us- are not perfect, but may be ‘good enough.’
4. Identify and explore difficult and often conflicting feelings and come to understand them. In doing this, gently challenge the defences we have built up in order to avoid painful feelings.
5. Talk about fears, fantasies, dreams and wishes as a way of understanding what might be happening in the unconscious. This might be influencing us and our behaviour without our awareness. Feel more comfortable with and accepting of difficult material and issues that might arise during therapy.
‘The Royal Road to the Unconscious.’ Clipart.
‘Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.’
6. Understand the relationship between past and present and how past experiences affect the present in terms of behaviour, feelings and ways of relating to others. Patterns of behaviour that may be adversely affecting our lives and relationships are repeated unless they are identified and brought into awareness. These patterns will be recognised and explored in therapy.
7. Understand how we relate to others; the therapist will use the transference. She will explore the patient/therapist relationship as a way of understanding how the patient relates generally in his/her life.
8. Comprehend that what we fear outside of ourselves may actually have originated in our internal world. This actually gives us more power to deal with such fears.
‘…our internal landscape begins to develop at birth and is a compilation of early relationships that have left their imprint on our being. Good and not so good. Our internal world is made up of real others (our parents, caretakers, siblings, teachers, places and things etc.) and our experience of them, our emotional reactions and feelings which become the fabric of the relational memories that have been taken in. So our internal world represents our intake of interactions and relationships as they have been experienced and understood at an implicit level.’
9. Develop confidence, self esteem and a feeling of self worth, through being heard and accepted in a non-judgemental atmosphere. Enable us to benefit from and enjoy our relationships more.
10. Through understanding, to either be able to forgive, or, if not, to be able to manage the pain of the past with more strength and fortitude, so that it does not affect one’s present.
Has psychoanalytic psychotherapy helped you? Please leave a response on the comments box below. Thank you. Linda.