The frame within which psychoanalytic psychotherapy takes place, including its boundaries and characteristics. Most of this framework is universal in that it is used in this way by psychoanalytic psychotherapists across the world.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy – Duration of therapy
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy usually lasts from between a few months (short-term psychotherapy) to a few years (long-term psychotherapy). This depends on the individual’s needs and strength, both emotional and financial. It is, however, sometimes possible that even a short number of sessions proves especially useful.
Short-term psychotherapy can last from between 16 to 24 sessions, usually once a week. The psychotherapy focuses on particular issues that, in the first few sessions therapist and client decide together to work on.
Short-term psychotherapy cannot possibly cover all of the issues that the client wishes to address, nor all of the various issues that will no doubt come up during the therapy. Besides working with a particular focus however, it usually works to highlight some of these issues so that the client can then address them in the future, if they so wish.
Long-term psychotherapy, though focused on particular issues that the client brings, it is and feels richer, as it’s not limited by the boundaries of those issues and allows for more themes to emerge and be looked at. It also affords the individual with the opportunity to explore and discover their inner world, without experiencing the anxiety of the upcoming end of therapy, such as in short-term psychotherapy.
Length of the session
The psychoanalytic session always lasts 50 minutes and sessions start and end at the agreed upon time. The initial online therapy consultation may last an extra 10 minutes or so. As the session may not start later than agreed, late arrival means the loss of part of the session, so it’s important to always be on time.
A day or so before our initial online therapy consultation, we will have exchanged our Skype names and already be connected, so that we can get on with the session without wasting time to get our profiles connected.
Once a week psychoanalytic psychotherapy can be very useful. However, it depends on the issues and needs of the individual as to whether the frequency will be once, twice a week, or more often. Greater frequency within the week is better in the sense that it is easier for the individual to remember what took place in the previous session, and to carry on from there, retaining mental and emotional closeness to both the therapist and the themes that are emerging. It thus provides a better sense of continuity, which is necessary for the work that needs to be accomplished. It’s further beneficial in that it helps one to go deeper into the issues that trouble them in a shorter period of time. Greater frequency in sessions is also useful in fostering a sense of greater safety and trust in both the therapist and the psychoanalytic process.
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