Psychotherapy

Background and Method

Psychoanalysis Light

Psychotherapy is the younger sister or brother of Psychoanalysis. It was developed to bring the essence of Psychoanalysis to patients in a less elaborate procedure, and it has fanned out into different approaches and psychotherapeutic «schools» throughout the history of psychotherapeutic treatment.

The one closest to Psychoanalysis is Psychoanalytic Therapy, which I practice. I tend to apply it with my patients or clients with one or two sessions per week, and we sit across from each other. Because of the greater time intervals between sessions, it is often more difficult to get at the repressed causes of problems, since everyday life reinforces repression for everyone, simply because of the outward focus of attention.

Especially with adolescents and young adults, however, I have found that they benefit well from Psychotherapy, as their character is less rigid, and they often have easier access to the unconscious parts of their psyche.

After one or two intake interviews, the patient and I decide together which way to go: classical Psychoanalysis or Psychotherapy, meaning «Psychoanalysis light».

In Psychotherapy, the same kind of cooperation applies as in Psychoanalysis: The patient speaks out what is troubling him, he voices feelings, thoughts, spontaneous associations, tells dreams, and together we try to uncover and understand the unconscious and invisible roots of problems and disorders, thus preparing the patient for new solutions in his life.

Depending on the severity of the patient’s problems and goals, Psychotherapy may take a few months, but also longer, sometimes up to two, three or four years. It may even evolve into a classical Psychoanalysis, should the patient wish to work more intensively on the causes of his problems and increase the frequency of the weekly sessions.

Effect

How Psychotherapy Works

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy works because the unconscious causes of the patient’s difficulties and problems are detected, uncovered and overcome. Many symptoms such as depression, obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behavior, sexual inhibitions and disorders, contact and relationship problems, work and learning inhibitions can be treated effectively with Psychotherapy.

However, as international psychotherapy research revealed, psychotherapy often has a less lasting effect because the patient is insufficiently trained to become his own psychotherapist or analyst (this is more effectively done in a classical analysis). Therefore, it may happen that the positive changes evaporate again, and a second or third attempt at Psychotherapy may be necessary. Some patients interrupt or stop their Psychotherapy altogether when the worst symptoms or disorders have been alleviated and their overall condition has improved, and they resume Psychotherapy with me at a later time when they feel in need of help again.

The aim of Psychotherapy is for the patient to find a way to cope with life’s stresses and strains, to overcome symptoms and to be more satisfied with work and love life. If the patient feels the need to intensify the treatment and change his personality more fundamentally, the intensification of the therapeutic cooperation in the context of a classical Psychoanalysis is the right way.

Besides individual Psychotherapy, I also offer couples and family therapy. Here, the aim is to make the unconscious entanglements and the malignant communication and relationship patterns conscious. Together, we try to find the underlying causes and work on them in order to create and establish better solutions for everyday life of couples and families, to ameliorate emotional contact and dealing with each other, to improve the emotional and sexual relationship, and in family therapy: in parenting.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ - Psychotherapy

How do I know that Psychotherapy is suitable for me?

Psychotherapy is suitable for you when you have come to the conclusion that your life difficulties, problems and symptoms/disorders are so stressful and restricting your life satisfaction that you are not getting anywhere with just the help from your natural environment (friends, family, colleagues). You need professional help. In other words, you feel like you are stuck in a dead end, you are desperate, you don’t see a way out. You need a reliable companion who will open your eyes, encourage and support you.

A Psychotherapist has a warm but neutral view of you, and can point out blind spots and help you further overcome your inner barriers.

What is the difference between Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy?

Psychoanalysis usually takes place lying on the couch and with three to four sessions per week. In Psychotherapy, the therapist and patient sit vis-à-vis each other. Psychoanalysis is more intense and has more profound and longer lasting effects than Psychotherapy, and usually takes a longer time. You may apply the famous Pareto Principle to highlight the difference: With 20 percent input you achieve 80 percent of maximum quality (Psychotherapy). To achieve top level, 100 percent of satisfaction and maximum quality, you have to invest additional 80 percent (Psychoanalysis).

What can be treated with Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy can be used to treat a a broad range of psychological problems and psychic as well as psychically caused disorders (such as psychosomatic diseases), e.g. depression, anxiety/phobia, obsessive-compulsive thinking and behavior, learning and work inhibitions, sexual problems and disorders, relationship and contact disorders, addictions, perversions, emotional retreat, inferiority and guilt complexes, etc. You set your own goals in Psychotherapy. Mostly, however, they are somewhat more limited than in classical Psychoanalysis. It is like in sports: The more you train, the more you achieve!

Is the therapist more active in Psychotherapy than in Psychoanalysis?

The therapist takes a somewhat more active stance in Psychotherapy than in Psychoanalysis, but basically works according to the same principles and with the instruments. Psychotherapy is more like a dialogue or conversation, whereas in a Psychoanalysis you have more space and time to associate freely, to observe and express your own feelings, thoughts and ideas, and to explore them together with the analyst.

Does Psychotherapy work with only a few sessions? What can be achieved in brief psychotherapy?

Brief Psychotherapy (only about twenty sessions) focuses on one single issue, such as a particularly stressful relationship or a delineated symptom (for example, speech inhibitions or authority conflicts), and this is discussed it in the limited time available. Brief Psychotherapy can sometimes alleviate and improve a symptom or disorder, and open a new perspective on it. However, the outcome is often less satisfactory than in a more in-depth Psychotherapy of longer duration.