Is Jungian psychoanalysis the right thing for me?
Anyone who feels an inner pain and is willing to begin a psychotherapy process, is entitled to ask if the approach of the therapist he/she wishes to meet is one that suits him/her. Doing psychotherapy is a significant process, it is an investment of time, energy, and emotions that will reflect in all areas of our lives.
Let us start with an evident fact: there is no universal therapeutic approach that would fit the needs of everyone identically, and the psychoanalytic approach is not made for everyone either. As the British psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott said: "To feel the need, to want it but also and above all, to be able to tolerate it".
Psychoanalysis is particularly aimed at those who wish to develop a deeper understanding of themselves, to those who want to make sense of their experiences and who seek to understand them at their roots: in the way in which their personal story settled in their unconscious. Psychoanalysis is a treatment that is based on the exploration of the unconscious, not on the establishment of tools to solve a situation, and it is in this that it differs from other approaches.
Most of the requests for consultations I receive come from people who have already consulted. Often the previous experience leaves a feeling of having solved a problem on the surface and of having calmed the immediate pain, and that is fine, but it lacks a deeper understanding.
Starting a psychoanalytic therapy is not easy. You have to be able to tolerate it psychologically, financially, and you have to make room for it in your schedule and in your busy life. It is also necessary to feel ready to tolerate the intensity that can result from a work of internal self-examination, of its gray areas, and that is at times challenging. I usually at the beginning of treatment, take the image of a trip by train to explain to my patients what we are going to do: It is an inner voyage, together we will take a train that will go back in your life and your job is going to be to tell me everything you see through the window, and that's not going to be easy, because we will see the landscapes that will go by, and more landscapes, and memories will come.
This will be a challenging voyage, you must feel ready to tolerate the inconvenience, the emotional intensity as well as the therapist's comments that may point to those areas that you do not want to revisit. This is often shown in our resistance to continuing the work involved.
If reading this short article you feel that you need someone who accompanies you with tools and solutions to fix immediately what confronts you, then it is likely that psychoanalysis is not what you need and I encourage you to consult the referral service of the order of psychologists (www.ordrepsy.qc.ca). On the other hand, if you feel that you are ready to go deeper into your life, if you feel that something is still happening without your knowledge, if you feel that you have to talk about hidden things that you have never considered sharing with anyone, if you feel ready to go see "behind" the symptom, then I encourage you to contact a psychoanalyst to arrange a first appointment to assess if you can make this inner journey together. Make sure that this person has been duly trained and certified by a psychoanalytic institute, that he or she is recognized by his or her peers, because a therapist can not accompany someone to areas he or she has not been himself, and this work on oneself before one can do it with others, is not only the specificity of a psychoanalyst, but it is also and above all the foundation of his clinical practice.