Psychoanalysis is the most intense form of treatment which allows for the most profound types of change. In psychoanalysis, we meet 3-5 times per week and some people choose to lie on the couch. Ultimately this form of treatment can allow someone to feel more comfortable in their own skin and change long-standing, entrenched character traits that are causing suffering. Psychoanalysts share a belief that there are certain aspects of the mind that are unconscious and yet still exert great influence on one’s life. We believe that learning about the unconscious though talking and exploring dreams can allow one both more freedom and more control over one’s life. The relationship with the psychoanalyst is the strongest vehicle for change.
For example, a person notices that they keep having the same problems in relationships over and over. A psychoanalyst can help the person see how they bring certain expectations and patterns of behaviors to a new relationship (that with the analyst) which will tend to provoke the same kinds of unhappiness. They may assume that others are ungenerous and don't want to give to them which they go on to assume is because they are not that valuable. Why would anyone want to give to them? The analyst can help them see how imagining that a person is ungenerous is likely going to make that person feel criticized and not like giving to her/him. Seeing this allows someone to interact in new ways and have more satisfying relationships.