If you asked a group of average Americans, ‘what can you tell me about psychoanalysis’ you would probably hear a few things about Sigmund Freud, maybe something about his theories or exploring the unconscious. Those are aspects of psychoanalysis, but they are also rooted in the past. Keep in mind that Sigmund Freud died over 80 years ago! Today we’re discussing what psychoanalysis looks like currently. What should you expect to see in a session with a therapist in Vermont?
First a quick note on vocabulary. We’re using the term psychoanalysis, but you could also use the term psychotherapy, or talk therapy. Some practitioners might argue there are differences between these terms but they are all descended from the work and theories of Sigmund Freud and for the sake of simplicity let’s think of them as roughly the same.
When students of psychoanalysis think of Sigmund Freud they tend to think of his theories–many of which are quite famous. Modern practitioners of psychoanalysis study Freud’s ideas, but a lot has changed in the practice of therapy. Freud’s theories may have been the foundation for his practice and many of the basic ideas promoted by Freud still exist and are valid, but they are not front and center in a modern practice. For example, the idea that we have an unconscious that may influence our thinking and our behavior was an idea Freud popularized.
What modern practitioners of psychoanalysis bring to their patients is the process that Freud pioneered. He brought forth the idea that talking about your life and the problems you are facing can lead to insight, provide clues on how to work through those problems and ultimately help you identify solutions. In essence, modern psychoanalysts focus on the process. The goal of psychoanalysis is results and the psychoanalyst is there to provide the setting and expertise to help you meet your goals.
In our next article we’ll go into detail about some of the evidence based results that come from modern psychoanalysis, but the fact is that the practice works. Thousands of patients have been able to use the psychoanalytic process to discuss, examine and change the parts of their lives that need improvement. There are many options for therapy, but talk therapy (such as psychoanalysis) is still effective for patients today.
If you have questions about whether talk therapy is right for you or how to get started, get in touch. We’re happy to schedule a consultation or answer questions over email.