I am a psychoanalytic therapist and this means that we assume that much of our thoughts, feelings and behavior are not necessarily available to our conscious minds. By being in a safe, unstructured space, and expressing more directly our feelings, a process begins where the therapist listens empathically on a deep level to what may be needing to emerge from the client. The client may then be facilitated by the therapist’s interventions and interpretations to make further associations to what is happening in the mind. This structuring of an emotional space is a crucial feature and akin to the ‘Freudian couch’ where a very different, non-social relationship occurs between client and therapist, and which is used as a mirror for insights into other close relationships. The therapist is also a witness to the client’s reality which can, in some cases, have been confused during early care-taking and family relationships.
My personal approach is also informed by an understanding of developmental stages in the infant’s separation process from mother and by psychodynamics, in that we construct defences, to manage the more painful areas of our experiencing.