The patient plays a critical role in determining the course of treatment. Nothing is expected to “be” in therapy, except to connect with and express what one is experiencing. Patients are invited to think, talk, and self-reflect in a unique dialogue and relationship. The one “rule” is saying whatever comes to mind, or free associating. By bringing forward what is most pressing, patients communicate on two levels – in actual spoken words, and also in meanings and motives disguised between the lines.
My voice as the therapist ranges from reflective silence to direct interpretation. I position myself most often in the space between us, the therapeutic space. I sit objectively alongside patients in empathic resonance with their experience. My presence is organized around our relationship, and the quality of our connection in session. I join the patient in grasping the deeply personal dimensions of a mutually shared experience, of spontaneous happenings. This tends to felt by patients as attunement, either to the gratifications of joy, delight, and love or to the dissatisfactions of anger, sadness and loss.
The value of the “work” can be measured by vitality in living. The psychoanalytic situation is designed for exploring and regenerating. The set-up of the therapeutic relationship provides refuge from the demands of the outside world, and it is within this space that healing occurs. Treatment uncovers the ways in which influential dynamics are at play in everyday interactions and in relationships, especially as they emerge in session. The process is interactive and experiential. Everyone experiences therapy differently, so no continuity or sequence of events is demanded. In fact, nonlinearity is expected and accepted.