Contemporary Psychoanalytic Model

Contemporary Psychoanalysis is an umbrella term for a number of related theories that are stitched together much like a patchwork quilt. There are areas of shared convergence and areas of disagreement. Human being fundamentally seek relationships. This is the theme that ties all the theories together. These theories share a common sense of the importance of human relationships in shaping and forming the human self. These theories go by the names, Object Relations, which began in London during and after the war. Attachment Theory was developed in London at this same time. Self Psychology which was developed in America in the 70’s. Relational Theory was an early American development in 50’s, and refined in the 80’s. Intersubjective Systems Theory was also developed in American in the 80’s and later. Together these theories comprise the Contemporary psychoanalytic models.

Psychoanalysis offers the most profound opportunity for enduring relief of the incapacitating symptoms that have impaired the quality of your life, as well as for extensive personal development. Effectivity research comparing symptom oriented and short-term models (i.e. CBT, DBT etc.) to psychoanalytic models show that psychoanalytic methods are at least as effective and often superior. The upshot is this, therapies that utilize psychoanalytic models and methods show a longer lasting, more thorough effects with less relapse. See Monitor on Psychology December 2017 p. 41 – 47. For a more thorough review of the effectivity topic see Traditionally, psychoanalysis has been conducted at a frequency of 3-5 sessions each week; but regarding this I am more flexible. The minimum number of sessions is two 45 minute sessions per week, or one 90-minute session once per week. Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy treatment require a serious commitment by both of us, patient and analyst. The length of treatment is co-determined, by you and I. As a minimum I would suggest considering a treatment of 12 to 18 months in duration. When and ending time is agreed upon, and we spend a significant amount of time processing the decision and looking at what was accomplished and what was not, as well as what worked and what didn’t. This period can be a most productive period of work.

Basically, Psychoanalytic treatment sees symptoms as rooted in the patterned ways we engage each other and the resulting sense of self with others that develops from these patterns. These patterns are encoded in the brain, as the brain attempts to help us adapt to the particular relational, social, emotional environment that we find ourselves in. Symptoms are not to be eradicated but understood as signposts to the deeper issues. When the deeper issues are resolved the symptoms subside. Among the results of treatment are: the capacity to maintain a stable, realistically-based sense of self and self-esteem; to improve the ability to regulate affect, to tolerate a wider range of emotions; to develop more emotional resilience, which means the ability to have emotions, to think about them and not to over or under react. Other results include, having more fulfilling relationships, including having more satisfying sexual experiences; and generally, to understand yourself and others in more emotionally complex and mature ways. Taken together, these capacities enable you to become more comfortable with yourself, and better prepared to face life’s ongoing challenges with greater freedom and flexibility.

This level of personal growth and transformation is best achieved through the painstaking process of self-reflection and self-discovery, in the context of the safety, intimacy, honesty and authenticity of the analytic relationship. The path to deep healing and recovery is rarely smooth or easy. But in the company of a trusted analyst, what was formerly unbearable and unthinkable, and had to be ignored so you could continue functioning, becomes bearable and thinkable. This kind of therapy requires a significant commitment of time, emotional energy and money. It is not for everyone. If it is for you, let’s talk!