The psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a verbal and ambulatory therapy which is carried out over a relatively long period of time. The patient and the psychotherapist have regular interviews face to face. The frequency of interviews is jointly decided at the start of the therapy, but is usually on a weekly basis.
Like the psychoanalysis, from which it originates, the psychoanalytic psychotherapy is based on the fundamental rule of free association.
The patient is invited to tell all that crosses his/her mind, what s/he feels, what s/he is thinking about and what s/he fantasises about.
The psychotherapist listens and tries to understand with the patient the meaning of the complaints and symptoms.
As the bond between the therapist and the patient develops, feelings difficult to put into words will also emerge, either because they have heavy emotional charges, or because they have not yet found their significance or a clear enough thought form.
Often such feelings will be perceived for the first time during the relationship with the therapist.
The therapist can then, by analysing in more depth this emotional charge, establish a link with the painful experience of the patient’s past.
Under the effect of this shared experience and joint thinking, the internal life can be deepened, which in turn will enrich and strengthen the internal world of the patient.
The aim of the psychoanalytic psychotherapy is not only to diminish the symptoms and complaints, but also to become more independent and acquire a greater awareness of discernment, thought and action.
The psychoanalysis differs from the psychoanalytic psychotherapy by a higher frequency of sessions, and by the usage of a couch. Having more weekly sessions allows a deeper analysis, in particular by taking the time to examine in depth the dreams and the associations of the analysand. The laying down position allows the analysand to relax, facilitating the contact with his/her deeper layers and allowing the emergence of his/her internal world. With patients for whom the regression is unadvisable because it could be too intense, the analyst will recommend a face to face situation.
We are all trained in psychoanalysis, but we also practice the analytic psychotherapy with individuals who do not wish to enter into psychoanalysis, or for whom the analytic psychotherapy is more suitable.