What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy sometimes is used interchangeably with the term “counseling,” and while advice can come from supportive friends, psychotherapy goes further to explore and learn about the root causes of life problems and symptoms. Insight and awareness combine with a direct experiencing of feelings, thoughts, and memories to work through and resolve long-standing patterns that have been getting in the way of living life more fully. The goal is to have greater control over life choices, rather than being unwittingly controlled by external life circumstances.
Are There Different Types of Therapy?
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is what most people are referring to when talking about psychotherapy, having evolved from Freud’s ideas of the complex ways in which the mind works. One hundred years later, many of those concepts are still relevant, while other of Freud’s ideas have evolved as new understanding emerges through ongoing research.
Many of the thoughts and feelings that motivate us to behave as we do and make the choices we make, are outside our awareness. Psychotherapy helps understand what is in the way of knowing these parts of the mind. One also becomes more acquainted with the very creative, and sometimes, not so helpful ways in which the mind works. This is achieved by talking about whatever is on one’s mind. Sometimes, working with dreams can also provide clues about memories and experiences and the impact they have had.
With greater awareness and understanding, you gradually are in a better position to make more conscious and flexible choices about how you want to live your life, rather than being controlled by the unconscious parts of your mind. Sometimes individuals achieve their desired goals in a relatively short period of time (e.g., a few months), although often therapy is a longer process, especially if there are early traumas, multiple areas of concern, stress, or life changes to address.
Psychoanalysis is a deeper form of treatment recommended for some. People in psychoanalysis come 3, 4, or 5 times a week and may lie upon the couch. This approach is for some, and is geared toward lasting symptom relief, increased confidence and success in work and relationships, and a greater capacity to enjoy life. When there have been long-standing issues and multiple attempts at treatments that have not proven entirely successful, psychoanalysis may be indicated.
For further information about psychoanalysis as a form of treatment, feel free to ask Dr. Drake or you can also refer to website of The American Psychoanalytic Association website.