Reader n8chz (whose great blog you can’t find here) left some good questions about psychoanalysis that I want to address sin a separate post:
Psychoanalysis somehow seems expensive, but that’s because I’ve been told (perhaps by people I shouldn’t listen to) that real psychoanalysis is at least three 50-minute hours a week for something like five years, at with a practitioner with an MD, plus psychiatry residency, plus being psychoanalyzed, plus training in psychoanalsyis.
Today, most analysts refuse to do more than one hour-long session per week. I could go into details as to why they have departed from the Freudian model of four 40-minute sessions per week but I don’t want to bore. Suffice it to say, that these days hardly anybody practices this way. In extreme cases, an analyst might offer (and reluctantly, at that) two sessions per week for a short period of time. This is normally done when the analysand is in an acute stage. Four sessions per week are maybe suggested for people with terminal cancer or something as tragic and urgent.
Psychoanalysts don’t hold MDs, they don’t study psychiatry, they can’t and don’t want to prescribe drugs. The very words “doctor” and “psychiatry” make them wince. Psychoanalysis was born out of a rejection of psychiatry. Of course, there are analysts who follow Freud’s journey of studying psychiatry, getting massively disillusioned with it for obvious reasons, and switching to psychoanalysis.
Here is the kind of training a psychoanalyst needs to get to be considered one:
1. full personal psychoanalysis (at least once but often twice.)
2. assisting a practicing analyst.
3. constant and ongoing supervision.
The number of hours any individual analysand will require depends on:
1. the goal s/he wants to achieve.
2. the readiness of the analysand to solve his or her problems.
3. the analysand’s capacity to relinquish control and break out of the intellectual rut.
4. the analysand’s familiarity with the procedure.
Usually, the first 6 months of analysis are all about breaking through the very typical resistance structures. As we discussed before, psyche values nothing above stability and will cling to what is bad but familiar.
The technique of psychoanalysis is “supportive frustration.” While a psychotherapist consoles and comforts, an analyst will gently try to frustrate you during every session (except when you are in extreme distress.) If you don’t feel the need to say, “Oh my God, my analyst is so annoying!”, something is not going right.