Why choose psychoanalysis?

Warren S. Poland: My working definition of psychoanalysis is that it’s the disciplined study of whatever it is people do not want to know about themselves.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a founded upon a particular form of listening that is guided by the theories and practice of psychoanalysis. This listening is guided by an underlying assumption that our feelings and actions are influenced by unconscious factors to a much greater degree than we are consciously aware of. Its initial aim is to raise our awareness of these forces, then work through its significance in the safety of an authentic and professional relationship. The ultimate aim is to help the individual overcome the blocks that lie at the heart of their difficulties, and gradually relieve them of their silent hold.

The analyst does not aim to provide solutions to these difficulties but instead endeavours to explore the subtle patterns that are repeated in our actions and behaviour – often with a damaging impact on our lives. By gradually uncovering, then working through, these deep seated issues in the immediacy of this unique relationship, it becomes possible to lift the weight of the history we carry and begin to live a fuller life. As this awareness grows, the individual realises that their paralysing symptoms are not just arbitrary but contain a deeper significance that is very personal to them and their life story. In time the patient experiences not only symptom relief but an inner resolve that becomes the foundation for real and lasting change. While this form of therapy can be a long and arduous, the benefits are long lasting and can put the individual on a firmer footing for the rest of their life. Patients often say that this immense personal investment of their time, effort and money is completely worthwhile in the long term.