Psychotherapy & Analysis: The "talking cure'
Beneath the surface
Analysis (and psychotherapy) is based upon the 'talking cure' a tried and tested therapeutic approach that provides an opportunity to explore and make sense of perplexing and troubling feelings within the safe context of a professional relationship; alongside a highly trained clinician. It recognises the powerful influence of the unconscious in shaping the way we behave, relate and view the world.
We get glimpses of what happens beneath the surface - of these powerful unconscious processes which shape the way we behave and relate to the world - in dreams, slips of the tongue, day dreams and when we act in ways that catch us by surprise; it's as if we are in the 'grip' of something. As a Jungian I regard symptoms, anxieties, conflicts and dreams as potentially valuable communications; a helpful 'wake up' call rather than something to be 'rid' of. This is because even though these experiences can be disturbing, they helpfully draw attention to neglected areas and issues which need to be addressed; to an imbalance which requires attention e.g. unacknowledged or repressed feelings; untapped creativity and resources; the true expression of potentialities.
Stuck in a rut: defences and transference
Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut. We can find it hard to make sense of a difficult situation, to see a way forward, to avoid repeating self-defeating patterns, or to make the necessary changes in our lives. As we mature we need authentic ways of relating which are true to our own sense of ourselves. Such anxieties, concerns and possibilities can be safely explored and developed within the analytic relationship.
Although everyone needs defences, sometimes historical ways of protecting ourselves from painful or threatening situations will have long outlived their usefulness. Outdated, overly rigid or frozen defences can act like a child-sized suit of armour; they constrain our freedom to play with new possibilities; they stifle our creativity and spontaneity; and they inhibit emotional growth and development.
Customary ways of reacting and relating can also become apparent or 'alive' in the therapeutic relationship itself; these issues can be helpfully thought about, explored and understood in the 'here-and-now' as part of the analytic work (sometimes called working in the transference). Teasing out, understanding and coming to terms with underlying conflict can strengthen our emotional resilience and our capacity to tackle change. This analytic process can strengthen the capacity to think and can foster creativity, emotional growth and maturity.
Can talking really help?
'Making sense of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis'BPC pdf
Both psychotherapy and Jungian analysis offer the opportunity to explore and seek to resolve in-depth complex problems which have repetitive patterns and wide spread effects upon your life within the secure framework of a professional relationship with a therapist alongside.
In the session:
Sometimes you may come to a session with a clear idea of what you want to talk about. At other times you may arrive believing you have nothing to say and it can be surprising, uncomfortable and enlightening to wait and discover what might emerge in the silence.
What do I talk about?
It usually helps to talk as freely as possible in sessions about whatever is uppermost in your mind, just as it occurs to you, without trying to organise it or censor it. These issues may be worries, hopes, fears, stray thoughts, memories, images or ideas. It may also help to talk about dreams, day dreams, and ways in which you find yourself behaving that surprise you. It can also be valuable to share how you experience the process of being in therapy and the therapeutic relationship. Talking freely in this way provides glimpses of your unconscious life and it becomes possible to begin to be curious, notice patterns or connections in seemingly unrelated material; these can be explored and with time can be processed and prove meaningful and enlightening.
This "talking cure" approach - talking as freely as possible and wondering - is used for all work whether it is psychotherapy (generally one - three sessions per week) or Jungian analysis (usually three or more sessions per week). However, although the approach is similar more frequent work can feel different. This is because when there is less time to wait before the next session it can be more containing; safe enough to stay with, explore and process more vulnerable feelings and deeper anxieties.
Chair or couch?
Both chair and couch are available for use. Some people prefer eye contact and choose to use the chair especially when they begin work with me. Others, find they are able to relax more and engage in the work more deeply when they lie on the couch. This is entirely a matter of personal preference and can be explored and reviewed as the work progresses.
The frequency of sessions depends upon what you are hoping to achieve, the nature of the difficulties you are wrestling with together with my professional recommendation and your personal circumstances. Often the decision is an ongoing discussion in the therapy and evolves as the work develops. Some people choose to start at once or twice per week with an open mind to see how the relationship and the work progresses. For others it is clear from an early stage that they are ready for and/or need to engage in more intensive work from the outset.
In terms of what happens in a session; on the surface there may not appear to be much difference between once per week and more intensive work, because irrespective of frequency you will be encouraged to talk as freely as possible (see above 'What do I talk about?). However, although the basic approach is the same, more frequent work can feel very different. The regularity of meetings and reduced waiting time between sessions means if can feel safer; safe enough to stay with, explore and process especially vulnerable feelings and deeper anxieties.
Please see FAQs page for further common questions including:-
Please see Resources section for useful contacts and websites if you wish to explore further:
Whether you are seeking...
....time-limited focussed, open-ended psychotherapy, or Jungian analysis, I bring exactly the same professional commitment and expertise to the work. This expertise is indicated by my registration as a Jungian analyst and psychotherapist. It has been developed by many years clinical experience, a rigorous Jungian analytic clinical training and ongoing professional development.
If you would like to arrange an initial session with me to explore the possibility of commencing psychotherapy or Jungian analysis please click here to check my current availability first.