How many times have I heard the stunned reaction: “Four or five times a week? Isn’t that only for crazy people? Once a week must be enough. Do you really think my problems are that serious?” Myths haunt psychoanalysis. I’m sure you’ve seen “Freud is Dead” splashed over a magazine cover more than once in recent decades. Why do people want to kill Freud and, along with him, psychoanalysis as a therapy of choice for problems that don’t seem to end?
The idea of psychoanalysis can seem daunting. After all, Freud is the one who informed us of that unknown realm called “the unconscious.” Realizing there are things you don’t know and need help with is hard. For many reasons, you may live with the belief that you’re fine on your own. Being self-sufficient can often feel safer than needing someone’s help. Maybe you even try to use that seemingly ‘reassuring’ mantra: “What I don’t know can’t hurt me.”
Actually – what you don’t know can oppress and defeat you.
Many of us spend our lives living out unconscious fantasies that get in the way of having the life we want – fantasies that don’t seem like fantasies at all: “I’m a complete failure.” “No one loves me.” “I’m doomed to be alone forever.” “I’ll never get what I want; so why should I try?” When you believe those kinds of things, you find ‘proof’ everywhere. Psychoanalysis makes it possible to unveil these convictions for what they are, where they came from, and for the purposes they serve. You have a chance to see yourself and your beliefs differently – and to get to the other side.
Psychoanalysis allows for a deeper look, and a better chance than once-a-week-therapy, to change those embedded beliefs. That’s part of the benefit of coming more frequently. And, if you’re very anxious or depressed, the frequency helps you not to feel so alone or overwhelmed between sessions. Of course, taking that deeper look requires courage. But, if I were your analyst, I’d be there every step of the way.
Psychoanalysis is having a heart to heart talk with me; letting me help you find your real feelings – lost amidst the symptoms, the fears, the blocks, and the false explanations about who you think you are; or aren’t. Our relationship takes on whatever you bring – early fantasies, unsettled hurts, anger, longings, and losses. An emotional language grows between us, a language that is ours alone.
Psychoanalysis has changed a great deal from the stereotype of a silent analyst sitting behind the couch. I am active, I talk to you; we have a relationship that feels safer and safer over time. That rumor, “Freud is Dead”? Don’t listen to it. Psychoanalysis is the best option for persistent symptoms. You have the chance to put the pieces of your self together; see your personal history in a new light; and recreate yourself in your own very real image.