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What was psychoanalysis/psychodynamic therapy like for you?

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What was psychoanalysis/psychodynamic therapy like for you?

Postby TheBrit » Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:20 am

I'd like to hear about some personal experiences, since I'm interested in probably becoming a psychodynamic therapist myself
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Re: What was psychoanalysis/psychodynamic therapy like for you?

Postby Gelato » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:20 am


I am a healthy woman with a loving husband, a roof over my head, a couple of good friends and a good job that I like.
I have been suffering on and off from anxiety, insomnia and eventually depression. My depressive phases can last for a few days or even several months. As a teenager I wasted about a year of my life going through anorexia. When I am depressed so far I have managed to stay "functional", I get out of bed, look after myself, do my work, do sport, eat well. Nevertheless I am not truly alive and not well and I will generally withdraw as much as possible from society and from taking any decision whatsoever (I just let others decide for me). I do often strive to practice perfectionism when I really care about something and extreme behaviors to achieve a goal. Although it did not seem to be a problem to me and it still doesn't seem to be a problem, my psychologist seems to think it is. Anyhow...
I normally restore my ability to sleep with sleeping drops (benzodiazepine) which proves very effective, yet I am pretty sure they are not good for health in the long run. I sometimes make use of cannabis as a more "organic" alternative to the sleeping drops when my anxiety and insomnia are mild.
My anxiety and depression are usually triggered by social situations where I feel inadequate, useless, not good enough or manipulated in such a way that I act against my own values, or by situations where I feel out of control.

I have been in Psychodynamic therapy sfor about 6 months now. I found the first 4 sessions very effective for me to understand and "deflame" feelings and behavious associated with a very specific trigger that caused my latest deep depressive episode. It helped me understand the situation better, remove the sense of guilt associated with it and take some actions to open up about the topic with a person I deeply care about and who was involved in the situation. This was very positive.

Since then the conversation sort of drifted away and to me feels very unclear, frustrating and unproductive. The psychologist sort of encouraged me to look a bit into the past and we discussed of times and memories which probably contributed to me feeling often inadequate,feeling the need to please others a lot and to my tendency to "switch off and disappear". Great, we understood that, so now that I know it what can I do about it? All this did is it made me very resentful and mistrusting towards my parents. And I feel broken forever, as if I had a manufacturing defect.

For the past three months I cannot honestly recall any "ahaa" moment where I can say therapy helped me in any way. I tried asking twice how is therapy supposed to work and what could I do to be more productive. I got a very good explanation on how psychology works. It is an amazing, interesting discipline and I understand why it is important that it is studied. What I didn't get is an explanation of how therapy is supposed to work. I asked twice and after the second time the therapist got a bit annoyed and she said that when I resist change I just seem to try and challenge her. I am not, I am genuinely trying to understand what should happen and what can I do about it.
I asked whether she could give me some sort of exercise or homework that could help me prepare for our sessions. Not only she said no, she said that it is much better if I am unprepared when I go to therapy sessions.

In the last few sessions I have often felt I had absolutely nothing to say, so I just pulled out some philosophical topics I am interested so that I could get the opinion of a psychologist about them, nothing personal at all. And let her talk.

Based on my experience this form of therapy proved useful when there was a very specific topic to work on. As for actually providing a cure to a broader tendency towards anxiety and depression, to be it seems very ineffective. Moreover, I feel it would help if patients were explained what they can do to make it work better.

I would like to add that I am an introvert, I generally find it very very hard to open up to anyone. I keep my thoughts inside, I keep doubting whether they are correct or not and when in doubt I just do not say much. Therefore my conversations with other people, including close friends and my husband, usually evolve around me asking open questions and them answering. That's how I converse. They love it. I do not really know how to think of of much I would like to say.

The therapy sessions are very expensive for me and I feel we are just not going anywhere with this anymore. I am in fact planning to stop at the next session. I feel a bit sad about it because of course I feel a bit attached to the therapist by now and I will miss her, although I was very careful not to ask her anything personal at all as I did not want to set up too much of an emotional bond.
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