Some of you may be surprised to know that even today there are people who attend psychoanalytic sessions 3, 4, or even 5 times per week! The type of work that can be done with this intensity can be much deeper and rewarding than a psychotherapy process that stays more on the surface.

This work can engage unconscious resistances to change that are making it hard to do the things you want to do and to be the person you want to be. Working with associations can help us identify self limiting patterns, core issues about the self, regressive longings from early childhood that have been either buried or are subtly leaking out, and vulnerabilities and insecurities that have never been resolved and are affecting the way you see, interpret, and feel about interactions in the present with your partner, parents, children, authority figures, and friends.

The process has to be experienced. It cannot really be described but has to be felt and sensed. It will change you forever. If you’re someone who does not remember your dreams, you may be surprised to find that you begin to do so.

Feel free to read some of my clinical vignettes to get a bit of a picture about the process. You can access them here: Case Studies

Sometimes when a client wants to do this kind of work but can’t afford the time or money to attend multiple sessions per week, I suggest that we bump up the intensity for a short period of time (for example meeting 2-3 times per week, one day after another, for 1-2 months) just to get the momentum going and to establish this kind of process. Once the unconscious is activated more intensively, it then becomes possible to continue the work at a decreased frequency.

Psychoanalytic therapy in 2023 is a very multi-faceted thing. Stereotypes from the early days of psychoanalysis (for example, a blank screen therapist who says nothing while the patient free associates on the couch) have given way to more contemporary fads like relational analysis in which the therapist’s subjectivity is as much a part of the process as the patient’s. But common factors like a focus on the unconscious, working with the transference, regression, and a focus on emotions and desires, as well as the privilege given to the patient’s needs over the the therapist’s, cut across the theories to the ethics and mindset of the field.

There are many different ways of practicing, and the focus as well as process can be different depending on the approach. Your transference to the therapist and the therapy setting will affect the fears and desires you have in relation to different types of therapists. Do you prefer a male or female therapist? Someone warm and nurturing or someone intellectual and firm? Someone who will listen and receive, or a therapist who will stimulate and push? Do you prefer space or do you like to get real close? Do you prefer a process that focuses on language and the words you use or do you long for someone who can meet your attachment needs?

Therapists who are comfortable to engage you from a multiplicity of angles can take you in whatever direction you want to go. Of course we all have our limitations, and no therapist can be everything to one person. But part of what I value most in my work is the creative space to do whatever kind of work is needed for each person.

Here are some resources to learn a bit more about psychoanalysis:

Interview with Thomas Ogden

Jonathan Shedler’s writings

Is Psychoanalysis Dead or Alive?

Questions?? Feel free to get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer-