UNDERSTANDING A PSYCHOLANALYTIC
APPROACH TO COUNSELING
There is a basic core-belief held by practitioners who prefer a psychoanalytic approach to psychotherapy. “The more honest we are with ourselves the better our chances for living a satisfying and useful life.” (McWilliams) Psychoanalysis is “a moral dialogue,” not a “medical treatment.” (Moral meaning: honest)
A therapeutic partnership requires both the psychotherapist and the patient to become progressively more honest with themselves in the context of their relationship. The aim of psychoanalytic psychotherapy is an increased capacity to acknowledge what is not conscious. This is, to admit what is difficult or painful to see in ourselves. Becoming aware of disavowed aspects of our psychosis will relieve us of the time and effort required to keep them unconscious. Psychoanalysis is located at the intersection of 2 vertices: The medical and the religious “Psychoanalytic treatment is essentially a cure through love.” (Freud) Individuals with psychotic-level problems, active addictions, borderline personality, organization or significant antisocial tendencies are usually not good candidates for psychoanalysis.
Nancy McWilliams, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, A Practitioner’s Guide– Guilford Press, New York, 2004.