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What is Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy?

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy originates from psychoanalysis but is typically associated with less intensive treatment.

It is a talking treatment for adults and a talking treatment through play for children.
Patient and therapist meet at an agreed, regular time, once weekly or more frequently.
 “Psychoanalysis [and psychoanalytic psychotherapy] is based on the observation that individuals are often unaware of the factors that determine their emotions and behaviour. Because these factors are unconscious, the advice of friends and family, the reading of self- help books, or even the most determined efforts will often fail to provide enough relief. Psychoanalytic treatment explores how these unconscious factors affect current relationships and patterns of thought, emotion and behaviour.......” American Psychoanalytic Association www.apsa.org/About_Psychoanalysis


“In the course of treatment    ......the patient becomes aware of the underlying sources of his or her difficulties, not simply intellectually but emotionally as well – in part by re-experiencing them with the analyst [therapist]. From the beginning of therapy, patient and analyst [therapist] work together to build up a safe and trusting relationship that enables the patient to experience aspects of his or her inner life that have been hidden...”  American Psychoanalytic Association website, About Psychoanalysis section. www.apsa.org/AbouPsychoanalysis

Most relationship difficulties have their origins in early childhood when patterns of relating first become established. The process of psychoanalytic psychotherapy “...helps patients gradually to identify these patterns and, in becoming conscious of them, to develop the capacity to understand and change them.” British Psychoanalytic Council website www.psychoanalytic-council.org.uk ( follow link to “About psychotherapy” and then “What is psychoanalytic/psychodynamic psychotherapy?”)

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