Psychotherapy can assist you with a range of behavioral and emotional problems. Psychotherapy is most often conducted at a frequency of 1 - 2 sessions per week. We will examine the history of the problem or problems which caused you to seek therapy in the first place. We will look at its onset, duration and even the triggers that make it worse.
We will look at the problem in the context of your important relationships, physical health, work and school life and even cultural factors or anything else you think is important. We will delve into your underlying beliefs, thoughts and emotions. We will examine any repetitive paterns that might keep your problem from resolving. Through this analytic method you will gain deeper understanding of yourself and therefore be in a better position to make more reasoned decisions regarding how to move your life along in directions that are more satisfying to you.
The word "Psychoanalysis" often causes people to pull back, given some of the popular stereotypical beliefs about what this type of treatment is. They sometimes envision a haughty, silent and judgemental analyst sitting behind the patient who is lying on a couch talking ad nauseam about childhood and how much of all that is wrong is "mother's fault." A caraciture of Woody Allen's famous film characters might even come to mind. Nothing could be further from the truth about the type of contemporary psychoanalysis which I have been trained in and have been practicing for over 20 years.
Psychoanalysis is an appropriate treatment for those people who want to make profound changes in their lives. It is typically conducted at a frequency of several sessions per week, usually three to five. It is a more intensive treatment than psychotherapy and is typically designed to address long standing self defeating personality traits or overcoming relationship difficulties in your personal or work life that seem to repeat over and over.
Psychoanalysis takes the view that the source of these types of intractable problems lies deep within you. It is for this reason that we do not rely on quick fix solutions as might come from self help books or the well intentioned suggestions of close friends or family members. These offer temporary comfort, at best. More likely, because the root causes lie outside your awareness, they can add to the feeling that you are a failure for not being able to make things right all by yourself.
In psychoanalytic treatment we look at your motivations, beliefs and experiences that are likely affecting your current life. Psychoanalysis is not an opportunity to assign blame to your parents nor is it an exercise in simply understanding intellectually understanding your "issues."
Together the analyst and analysand examine memories, current experiences, dreams, fantasies, wishes, repetitive behavioral patterns, as well as how the analyst and patient relate to one and other in order to understand what are the unconscious sources of your difficulties. As you begin to emotionally connect with these realizations and begin to observe how they operate in your daily life and relationships, you will gain greater freedom to actively and deliberately choose how to be.
Psychoanalytically based treatments are also referred to as "Psychodynamic Psychotherapy." To read about the benefits and learn more about this form of therapy read, "The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy" by Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D. Additionally, to learn more about the efficacy of Psychoanalysis and the supporting scientific evidence for its clinical value, please watch this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkxoExMB9Mw&feature=youtu.be. It was made by a colleague Robert M. Gordon, Ph.D., ABPP from Sacramento, California.
Couples seek counseling at various stages of their relationships. Sometimes couples come because they want to improve their communication, clear up some misunderstanding that is keeping them from feeling as intimate as they used to, or they want to resolve serious relationship issues prior to making a serious commitment to each other. Others come at a time when there has been a serious rupture of trust or they have become fed up with years of feeling insecure or unhappy in their relationship.
Typical problems that couples bring to counseling include: disagreements about money, employment, division of labor in the home, parenting, extramarital affairs, dealing with in-laws, frequency of sex, displays of affection, housekeeping, religion, communication style, and more. Each of these, whether large or small, is important to discuss and is usually a symptom of some deeper issue of significance to the couple. Some signs that a couples' relationship may be in serious trouble occur when they are unable to:
Agree on parenting style, rules and values.
- Communicate openly and respectfully.
- Trust eachother.
- Tolerate differences respectfully.
- Support and affirm eachother regularly.
- Share responsibilities equally.
- Share anger in a non-attacking manner.
- Listen and work hard to understand the other's perspective.
- Agree on central values, goals, and life styles.
As therapist to the couple, it is not my role to be a "referee" or judge and jury, deciding which member of the couple is right or wrong. I will not step in on one side or the other. The client in couples therapy is the RELATIONSHIP or the INTERACTION between the two partners. When the goal is for the couple to stay together, we work on how the interaction can be improved in order to restore trust, security and intimacy. If the goal is to separate, we work on smoothing the path so that it is not contentious.