Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis
Expedition to the unconscious
Psychoanalysis assumes that our inner life is characterized by conflicting desires and fears; we are continuously in an internal tension between opposing desires and are constantly striving for our inner balance. In this effort, we cope with the unpleasant and anxiety-inducing by repressing it and making it unconscious. This strategy helps us maintain our psychological balance. Our repression strategies only become problematic when they overreact, so to speak, when they become too rigid or inappropriate, or when repressed desires, fears and inner conflicts leave us no peace at all. The price for a failed repression can be a loss of joy in life or a feeling of meaninglessness – among other things, excessive stress, anxiety or depression can be the result. This is the origin of mental illness as understood by psychoanalysis.Whether someone needs treatment is therefore not a question of “normal” or “not normal” for psychoanalysis, but whether someone is subjectively suffering.
It is true: From a psychoanalytic perspective, our past is formative. As a psychoanalyst, however, I am not concerned with ” digging into the past” as a matter of principle. What we question in a psychoanalytic treatment is what from our past does not leave us alone today and can make life difficult in the future. As a psychoanalyst, I try to understand which fears and desires collide with each other in the other person, with which inner conflict someone comes to see me, or which needs he or she wants to keep silent and cannot. This is what talking in psychoanalysis is for – it creates a place for the unconscious to be heard.
Whether someone needs treatment is therefore not a question of “normal” or “not normal” for psychoanalysis, but whether someone is subjec tively suffering.
As a psychoanalyst, I meet my counterpart in the knowledge that his or her inner life is highly complex and that the unconscious is also expressed in his or her speech. Therefore, in the words of my counterpart, nothing is incidental; I direct my attention to everything that is expressed in his or her words in terms of wishes and fears, joy and suffering.
Psychoanalysis works because painful experiences, inner-psychic conflicts and fixed strategies of repression can be reconsidered, experienced in new ways and changed in the here-and-now of the consultation. The goal of our work is to help you find a new way of dealing with your experiences, desires and fears, one that allows you to suffer less and no longer stand in your own way; a way of dealing that allows you to achieve long-term serenity, confidence and joy in life.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy or psychoanalysis?
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy differs from psychoanalysis only in the setting: psychoanalytic psychotherapy takes place once or twice a week, psychoanalysis three or four times a week, with the person lying on the couch (right: like in the movies!). We discuss together which setting is suitable for you. My psychoanalytic attitude remains the same – my attention is focused on you, your unconscious and its creative expressions.
How psychoanalysis works
- Psychic functioning
- Principles of psychoanalysis
- Difference between psychotherapy and psychoanalysis