It has to be said that psychoanalysis is rather different from other talking therapies. In fact, strictly speaking it’s not a ‘therapy’ at all, although it can have therapeutic effects. The term ‘therapy’ has an interesting etymology, and is often defined as ‘healing’. Psychoanalysis, however, does not aim to heal. If anything, it can open up old wounds! However, these wounds, which often manifest themselves as various symptoms, are part of a person’s make up, part of their being.
Many other therapies aim to heal these wounds, to stitch them up, to remove the symptoms. Often they can be quite effective – at least in the short term. This is fine if all the person is looking for is a ‘quick fix’ in order to restore the life they had before it starting caving in on them.
But what if the person is looking for something else? What if they want to try and fathom out why things are caving in on them in the first place, and what their life might be like once the dust has settled? In other words, what if they are interested in what their symptoms might be ‘telling’ them, what it is about their life that is so painful and troublesome?
Then, perhaps, the work of analysis can begin – or at least become a possibility.