If you are reading this it is probably because you have tried to make changes in your life and those efforts have not worked well enough to satisfy you. You may be on the verge of understanding that the repetitive patterns of behavior that seem uncontrollable must be addressed at a deeper level to be mastered. Psychoanalytic therapy is a method of investigating the unconscious mind and a recognition of its profound power over us. It is about the slow and sometimes painful work of discovering the truth of our history and of our identity that has for too long been hidden by our own defenses against levels of anxiety, fear, and anger that we could not tolerate.
Therapy must start with the truth of your life but, of course, it must be much more than just that. The goal of the work is to integrate your mind and sense of self, to foster creative adaptation to life and your unique circumstances, and, ultimately, to open up unrecognized possibilities for work and for love. The result can be an honest experience of abiding joy.
Anyone who suggests such work is easy or quick has not done it themselves. All that is required to begin is courage. I will do my best to make my office the safest place you have ever known and through the relationship we build together, you will create the strength to make those changes that have eluded you so far. I approach this work as a process that moves toward a deeper level of maturity and increasing powers of creativity.
Therapy, at some point, must end but if we work together well, that process is internalized and you continue the direction of it – a direction that, finally, is your own honest choice. The truth will, indeed, set you free but only if you can develop the strength to master it, even affirm it. We can do it together.
I like to view my role as collaborating with you to achieve a greater awareness of yourself, to develop more effective patterns of behavior, and to resolve undesirable or troubling emotions and interpersonal conflicts. I will listen to you carefully and deeply. During our work together, we may explore patterns of thoughts and feelings derived from your family of origin that affect your current life and relationships. Within the structure and support of the therapy relationship, these patterns become more apparent and conscious, and are thus more easily understood and changed.
Psychoanalytic therapy is not an intellectual exercise. The therapist does not primarily teach the patient. The patient does not cognitively understand a new way of being and transform him/herself thereby. What happens is grounded in the experience of unconscious patterns that are actually lived out in the therapeutic relationship. The therapist interprets in the transference the immediate and primal emotional experience of the patient and it is through the new experience of old emotional patterns that insight is meaningfully achieved. The therapeutic frame, those restrictive rules limiting the nature of the relationship between the patient and therapist, creates a holding environment within which such experiences, often quite painful and anxiety provoking, can be contained, endured safely, and overcome. The therapist's office should be the safest place the patient has ever experienced.
Establishing the “frame” of the therapy is critical for success and begins with the first phone call. Trust cannot happen quickly. It develops over time and the accumulation of experiences that the patient has with the therapist as a reliable and safe person. There can be no contact outside the clinical office other than coordinating or emergency phone calls. Therapists do not and should not make house-calls or meet anywhere but the therapist's office. With the possible exception of an initial handshake, there is absolutely no physical contact between the therapist and client at any time for any reason. This last rule is inflexible and necessary for everyone's protection.
The two necessary elements that every client needs to bring to therapy (or at least be able to develop) are honesty and courage. They are inextricably intertwined. Psychoanalytic therapy has been called “the habit of honesty” (McWilliams, 2005) and it is always surprising how much courage it takes to be honest. Reality is not entirely malleable and without allowing the therapist to know what actually happened and how it actually effected you the therapy cannot be effective.
The goal is always to help the client become stronger in every aspect of their being. Happiness, endurance, courage, honesty, resilience, and other characteristics most clients want are all just synonyms for strength of character and will. You can become powerful with this method.
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Psychotherapy is a personal journey that requires great courage. While I've made every effort to describe my background and approach to therapy on this website, you may still have questions about the intangible human element, and feel that it makes a tremendous difference about how productively we will be able to work together. I invite you to call me any time at (206) 940-6732 to get acquainted and talk about the goals you'd like to bring to therapy. That being said, there is just no substitute for sitting down face-to-face and seeing if the chemistry is right. I encourage you to consider a 3-5 session trial before deciding about longer-term work.
Approximately 7 years ago at the request of a patient with a painfully long commute, I agreed to 2 sessions back-to-back rather than 2 sessions separated by a few days. She knew she needed more than once a week therapy but the travel time made it very difficult.
The results were rather remarkable and I have suggested such an arrangement with approximately 20 other patients who were all willing to give it a try. There was no precedent for this change of technique in Freud's technical recommendations nor was there anything I could find in the vast literature on the subject. I was on uncharted territory.
I am now in a position to state unequivocally that this procedure is dramatically superior to the bare minimum one 50 minute session per week. As I have only half-jokingly stated, “You can hide from me for 50 minutes but you cannot hide from me for 100 minutes.”
After 7 years of consistent clinical experience with at least 20 patients, I can say without exception every patient went deeper, improved faster, and made more lasting and profound changes in their character then those using the traditional method.
I am confident that this method will result in your therapy ultimately costing less and taking far less time as well as seeing more impressive results. I encourage you to seriously consider a trial period of at least 2 months to explore what this technique might do for you.