Frequently Asked Questions
How long does therapy take?
The duration of treatment is different for everyone. Sometimes the most pressing issues are resolved within months. In other cases, clients make the choice to continue therapy for a year or more in order to work on deeper issues that are important to them. As a general rule, the more contact we have, the faster issues are worked through. I will make recommendations about the frequency of our meetings. Some people benefit from meeting multiple times per week.
Can you prescribe medication?
I cannot prescribe medication but I work closely with colleagues who do. Research has shown that often the best therapeutic outcomes happen when psychotherapy and medication management are pursued in conjunction with each other. If you are interested in finding out about medication options, I can make a referral for you or I am happy to collaborate with a psychiatrist or M.D. of your choosing.
What is psychoanalytic psychotherapy?
I practice under the theoretical principles of psychoanalysis but I don't see patients lying down on the couch as in traditional psychoanalysis. The primary distinguishing factor of psychoanalytic therapy is its belief in the unconscious. Since birth we have been constantly taking in data from the world around us. We can only process or be aware of a fraction of this information; the rest resides in the unconscious. In therapy, we can begin to understand the ways that unconscious motivations affect our behavior.
What is the unconscious?
The unconscious is the entire collection of past and present experiences that are "remembered" but cannot be held in conscious awareness. It contains the changeable difference between who you are and who you want to be. It has no distinct physical location in the brain or body but draws upon memories and feelings that are distributed in neural networks throughout the brain. Functionally, it is the part of you that unwittingly repeats unwanted thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is the part of you that never lets a relationship last longer than six months. It is the part of you that keeps you in a holding pattern at work. It is the rest of the proverbial iceberg that somehow makes us do things that perhaps another part of us does not like.
Isn't Psychoanalysis old and irrelevant?
Yes, it's old. Actually it's the oldest theoretical framework within psychology. All other forms of psychotherapy originated from psychoanalysis, even Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This does not mean psychoanalysis is outdated. Psychoanalysis is very much alive today and is constantly being revised and refined by its practitioners since its conception in the early 1900s.
What if I want to stop therapy?
You can stop at anytime. Ideally we would talk about it in advance of an end date and find a way to conclude therapy that is comfortable for you.
What if I have positive/negative thoughts and feelings about my therapist?
Good! This is one of the main points of psychoanalytic therapy. Of course you will have thoughts and feelings about the person who you are sharing intimate life details with. In therapist language this is called “transference.” You transfer your way of relating to people in your broader life into the therapy room. The more we can have an open conversation about these thoughts and feelings, the better you will be able to understand your ways of relating to others.