People come to psychotherapy for many reasons. You may have experienced a particular crisis or loss that has left you struggling with powerful or disturbing feelings. Part of being human is that we can find ourselves in situations that are too difficult to handle alone. Our feelings can overwhelm us. You may be aware of damaging or upsetting patterns of thought or behaviour. People also come to psychotherapy because of anxiety, problems of self-image or identity issues, or a lack of self-worth, addiction, eating disorders, depression, or relationship difficulties, feeling stuck or out of control. You may have a sense of being unable to connect with others or feel intensely self-critical.
Psychotherapy provides a space to look at these and other states of mind. They are part of the human experience. One way or another they reflect your experience in life, and exist for a reason. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy aims to locate and understand the reasons for particular states of mind. Such understanding can be a motor of change.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy accepts that we all have an unconscious life and that this can exert a powerful hold. Often it is only through talking to someone else that we can come to understand what is going on underneath the surface level of our experience, and get to know what we really feel or think.
In psychoanalytic psychotherapy you are encouraged to talk as freely as possible about whatever is on your mind. You may want to talk about your dreams. Symptoms, conflicts or issues that are part of your experience can be seen to have a meaning. Links to your life experience can be thought about. As well as helping to alleviate distress, psychotherapy can help you towards a clearer sense of yourself, your thoughts and desires.
Psychotherapy is not something that is done to you. It is a two-way process, a collaboration between two people, even if it is focussed on one of them. Everyone is unique and I approach people as whole individuals, with complex lives.
How long does it last?
I have experience of working in both open ended and time-limited psychotherapy. Both have their uses.
As psychoanalytic psychotherapy addresses deep-seated issues, it can take time to get an understanding of these and allow for lasting shifts. Many people find the time and effort required to have been well worth it.
However, time-limited psychotherapy can be useful. For example, sometimes people have a specific issue they want to address. If you are interested in this I am happy to discuss it.