How Is Psychoanalysis Different From Other Types Of Counseling?
Most modern types of counseling or psychotherapy have their roots in psychoanalytic theory, but unlike some forms of counseling that try to be helpful by giving advice and reassurance, psychoanalytic therapies attempt to help a person understand his or her own mind. Psychoanalytic treatment provides a relationship and a setting that allows the patient to observe and change ways of thinking, feeling, relating, and behaving that may have been on “automatic pilot” or out of the patient’s conscious control.

There are two main types of psychoanalytic treatment: psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Both forms of treatment are characterized by an attitude of concern and respect for the patient’s privacy and independence.

  • In psychoanalysis, the patient meets with an analyst four or five times each week, typically lies on a couch and attempts to speak as freely as possible.
  • In psychoanalytic psychotherapy, the patient and therapist meet from one to three times a week and usually sit face-to-face.

The decision to pursue either type of psychoanalytic treatment is reached between the analyst and patient based on a careful evaluation of the patient’s needs. When indicated, both psychoanalysis and psychotherapy may be combined with medications that can relieve debilitating physical symptoms of depression and anxiety, while the patient and analyst work together to achieve deep and lasting psychological change.

Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy are intensive therapeutic relationships that provide unique opportunities to explore and understand an individual’s emotional life in depth. Insight and healing happen through a careful and empathic examination of the patient’s thoughts, feelings, dreams, and emerging relationship with the analyst.