“Psychoanalysis is in essence a cure through love.”
─ Sigmund Freud
Psychoanalysis is a collaborative treatment that uses the relationship between you, the analysand, and me, the analyst, to bring about lasting change. It is an in-depth and intensive form of psychotherapy, which requires commitment — temporal, financial and emotional — from both of us.
On my part, I have been in four-times-a-week analysis for many years (so, I have an idea of how demanding and challenging, as well as exciting and life-changing this process can be). I have also been studying and teaching, as well as practicing and publishing in psychoanalysis for over 12 years.
On your part, as an analysand, you are expected to be able to meet during agreed hours, 1-4 times each week, for the duration, to pay the agreed-upon fee, as well as to be invested emotionally in getting to know yourself.
The latter is, perhaps, the most challenging part of the process, as it requires honesty (first and foremost, with oneself) about one’s own feelings, thoughts and behaviors, facing which can, at times, be difficult and painful. This is made more bearable by the caring presence, attentive listening and careful interventions (such as interpretations) by the analyst.
The task of the analyst is not, paradoxically, to be directly reassuring and outright supportive by agreeing with you and/or confirming what you already know; to the contrary, the task of the analyst is to listen to and address the unconscious dimensions — whatever you are not aware of — related to your emotions, thoughts and actions, as well as to find connections between them. This is so, because, stated simply, you wouldn’t need an analyst, if you were already aware of the causes of your suffering.
Besides, no learning and therefore no significant change can emerge, if your analyst/therapist simply confers to, or colludes with, your vision of reality. This is why, unlike other types of therapy, psychoanalysis is not an advice- or “coaching”-based, nor a quick-fix, one-size-fits-all endeavor. It is surely not for everyone, but for those who seek deep and enduring change, which can only come from getting to “know thyself”.