Psychoanalysis is an intensive form of therapy that addresses the deepest and most difficult areas of struggle, especially as these impact all areas of a person's life. Most people can benefit from psychoanalysis, but it does require a commitment to treatment that is different from other forms of therapy. While the goal is to impact a person's overall functioning and personality, it also helps a person experience relief from more acute symptoms.

Generally, psychoanalysis occurs 3-5 times per week, usually with the patient lying on the couch facing away from the analyst (who sits behind the patient). This allows the patient to relax more easily and focus more inwardly rather than having to focus on the analyst. The only expectation for the patient is to "say whatever comes to mind" (free association), which can include a stream of thoughts and feelings about one's life, history, current circumstances, and/or relationship with the analyst. Through this explorative process, the patient can experience relief from longstanding ways of living life, allowing the patient to begin a new journey of living free from the shackles of often pervasive struggles, whether relational, internal, or overtly symptomatic.

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© 2019 Scott O. Hickman, PsyD