My Approach

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy differs from other psychotherapies in its emphasis on the active role of unconscious experience and in its preferred style of working, which is unstructured and open-ended. It also pays close attention to the relationship between client and therapist. These aspects of the psychoanalytic approach shape my practice.

Unconscious thoughts and experiences are central to the psychoanalytic view of mind and emotion. While much that is experienced is conscious and available to an ordinarily thoughtful person, unconscious experiences and conflicts lie buried in all of us. However, they are active in everyday life, causing mental and emotional distress. Because unconscious experience is unknown to the conscious part of the mind, help is needed to uncover and work through the difficulties caused. The practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy is geared to allowing unconscious thoughts and emotions to emerge and so is:

Open-ended and unstructured.  There is only one demand in psychoanalytic work: to say ‘what comes to mind’, however difficult it may feel. The therapist listens closely, interpreting any blocks to the free flow of thought and noting the emergence of underlying patterns in relationships and life situations. Dreams, daydreams and creative work, as well as everyday incidents, can all give insights into the workings of the unconscious mind. The therapy is open-ended and sessions are unstructured in order to give time for unconscious themes to emerge and be worked through in real-life situations. It can also be intensive – between 1 and 3 sessions weekly, or even more, depending on the client’s needs. Most clients can benefit from more than a single weekly session.     

The relationship to the therapist is recognised as central to the understanding of unconscious and repetitive patterns of relating and living, often going back as far as one can remember. Consequently, attention is often drawn to the developing relationship between client and therapist as this helps to understand what is occurring in significant relationships outside the therapy.

And the aim of psychoanalytic therapy? Freud said it was to enable people to love and to work. To date, no-one has bettered that definition.