Psychoanalysis is an intensive form of psychotherapy, involving three or more sessions per week over a period that usually lasts years. Psychoanalysts have more extensive training compared to other psychotherapists. They are generally experienced therapists who have undergone further education in order to give depth and meaning to their work.
Typically, psychoanalytic patients lie down on the couch and examine, with the help of the analyst, the different aspects of their lives, including experiences, feelings, thoughts, fantasies, memories, and dreams from their past and from their present. Some people prefer a face-to-face dialogue with their analyst, rather than lying on the couch. In either case, it is essential to develop a safe and collaborative relationship between the patient and analyst, in order to be able to facilitate the unfolding of the patient’s experiences and feelings. Together, analyst and patient work together to examine old, dysfunctional patterns in the patient’s life, and uncover the patient’s potential for a fuller, more satisfying life.