Reasons for seeking help
Sometimes people seek help for specific reasons such as eating disorders, psychosomatic illnesses, obsessional behaviour or phobic anxieties. At other times help is need because of more general underlying feelings of depression or anxiety, difficulties in concentrating, dissatisfaction at work or the inability to form satisfactory relationships.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is based on the observation that we sometimes try to deal with problems by trying to keep them out of our mind as a way of getting rid of them. However, they will continue to have an important effect on our feelings and behaviour.
Early experiences are important in shaping the way the mind works but a large part of our mind operates outside of our conscious awareness. From an early age, we find ways of managing our experiences and this influences how we cope in later life. With the therapist's help we can gradually come to understand these experiences and make sense of how we have dealt with them. This leads to a process of change, which takes place through the psychoanalytic session.
The relationship with the therapist is an important part of the therapy. He or she offers a confidential, safe and private place where the unconscious patterns of our inner world can be played out. The safe setting that they create means that emotional conflicts can be relived and new solutions can be found to old problems. This process helps us to identify those patters of behaviour which keep repeating themselves. As a person becomes aware of old patterns, it is then possible to change them.
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