Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a process of exploration between a patient and therapist. Difficult experiences throughout life, especially during childhood, can have lasting effects on how people think and feel and how they relate to others. Some of these may be easy to understand, but there may be others that are less apparent, leading to feelings and behaviours that are unwanted and difficult to make sense of, seeming closed to change.

Psychotherapy is a process which helps you to understand and resolve your difficulties by increasing awareness of your inner world and its influence on your relationships. It can help you understand complex life experiences and the ways in which they might be affecting you in a deep-seated and often unconscious way. It offers a reliable setting, with regular sessions in which you can bring whatever is on your mind – your thoughts, feelings, dreams or memories.

The therapy aims to help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and enable you to tolerate feelings and experiences which might otherwise cause unhelpful, restrictive repetitive patterns. It is in the relationship between therapist and patient where these patterns frequently reveal themselves. Identifying and understanding these patterns can open the way to change.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy can take place weekly or more frequently. It can be long-term, without a predetermined end date. It can also brief, with an agreed number of sessions .

If you would like to know more, an e-publication: ‘Making Sense of Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis’ is a comprehensive guide for those considering psychotherapy, describing the different types available and how a therapy usually proceeds. It is available as a free download from the British Psychoanalytic Council.