Modern Psychoanalysis

Modern Psychoanalysis is a treatment for relieving mental and emotional distress. Its simple technique heals through the talking interaction between patient and therapist. Join us to learn more or post your own thoughts.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Long-Term Treatment in Modern Psychoanalysis

Long-Term Treatment in Modern Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is often criticized for taking too long, and for being far too costly when the money paid over all those years in treatment is added up. This brief writing contains just a few thoughts on the uses and resistances involved in thinking about long-term treatment.
The average time of those staying in psychoanalytic treatment in the United States is estimated to be somewhere over 5 years. Yet, when our patients first come to see us, it is unlikely that many plan on staying in treatment for over 5 years; let alone for the 10 or 20 years that some do.
As Dr. Hyman Spotnitz notes: (1985, pp. 112-13)
When contemplating treatment… pathologically narcissistic individuals are rarely interested in change. What they want primarily – and immediately – is relief from emotional suffering. They are more likely to feel that they would be investing time, money, and effort just to prove they are incurable.
So, how long is too long to be in analysis – how much time and money should one spend addressing life-long difficulties? Perhaps our views about therapy before we enter it would help with the answer.
Arnold Bernstein (1995, p. 52) contends that:
The expectations of both the therapist and the patient are derived from their preconceptions of what psychotherapy is, and of what it means to be cured. Foremost among these preconceptions is that the patient is ’sick’ and that the treatment is to be regarded as medical in nature.
Prior to entering treatment, patients can entertain a variety of other ideas about what treatment means and what might happen during the treatment. (See e.g., Strean, 1985, pp. 110-112).
Modern psychoanalysts generally try to create an analytic space or “holding environment” where it is safe for the patient to “say everything.” In this context, resistance most often refers to whatever interferes with saying everything (talking) and the modern analyst works at whatever level the patient is at.

Thus, a patient with difficulties which may have developed in the pre-verbal (or pre-oedipal) stage of maturation might be helped to develop a narcissistic transference before moving further.
According to Spotnitz, (1985, p. 121), in most cases 2 years would be “… the minimum duration for significant change to occur” and “(a)lthough the effective reversal of the schizophrenic reaction requires a minimum period of 5 years, the treatment may continue for a longer period.”
Freud (1913, p. 130) similarly stated “(t)o shorten analytic treatment is a justifiable wish… unfortunately, it is opposed by a very important factor… the slowness with which deep-going changes in the mind are accomplished.” We can certainly see the point where serious difficulties, such as schizophrenia, are concerned.

However, our minds often reject the idea of creating such intense long-term emotional attachments to strangers.
As Bernstein (1995, p. 51) says:
A prolonged therapeutic relationship is more likely to be a source of embarrassment… than a cause for rejoicing. Quite the contrary is the case when other personal human relationships come to an end. When marriages, families, friendships and loveships break up, it is generally conceded that something went wrong.
So it may horrify one, looking at it from the outside - to hear of an individual spending many thousands of dollars over 5, 10 or 20 years in analysis - but, if it helps that individual achieve a real and meaningful life, was it all worth it? Only that person can say.
In the end, perhaps its all a question of value and connection. How do we view our attachments, ourselves, and our value as human beings? What are those things worth?
Bernstein, A. (1995). Some Clinical Observations Upon the Emergence of the ‘Wonder Child” (CMPS/Modern Psychoanalysis, Vol. XX, No. 1, 1995).
Freud, S. (1913). On Beginning the Treatment. Standard Edition. London, Hogarth Press, 12:121-144.
Spotnitz, H. (1985). Modern Psychoanalysis of the Schizophrenic Patient: Theory of the Technique, Second Edition, NY, Human Sciences Press.
Strean, H. (1985). Resolving Resistances in Psychotherapy, NY, Wiley.

© 2006, James G. Fennessy, M.A., J.D.
Matawan, New Jersey 07747

Friday, February 17, 2006

About Modern Psychoanalysis

The Talking Cure

Psychoanalytic Therapy is a treatment for relieving mental and emotional distress. It is often known as THE TALKING CURE because its simple technique heals through the talking interaction between patient and therapist.

Modern Psychoanalytic Services are therapeutic services based on an understanding of the unconscious and how unconscious processes affect the human mind as a whole, including actions, thoughts, perceptions and emotions. The major function of the psychoanalytic therapist is to listen carefully and attentively to the patient in order to understand and facilitate communication. When a patient can get in touch with and express all of his or her feelings, good and bad, emotional healing can take place.

This form of treatment for mental and emotional troubles was first developed by Sigmund Freud in early part of the last century. Later psychoanalysts expanded on Freud’s work and enlarged the range of problems that could be treated. New treatment techniques and insights into human behavior have also developed.

The science of Modern Psychoanalysis has demonstrated its ability to successfully deal with mental and emotional difficulties through its studies of early parent-child interactions, frustration, social relations, family dynamics and psychosomatics.

Modern Psychoanalysis

Modern Psychoanalysis, as expressed by its founder, Dr. Hyman Spotnitz, has gone beyond Freud, and addresses modern needs, since it “...has been reformulated on the basis of subsequent psychoanalytic investigation.”

Modern Psychoanalysis utilizes a wide range of interventions including ego reinforcement, emotional communication and resistance resolution.

The modern theory of treatment considers most emotional, mental and personal achievement problems to be reversible through our techniques.

The modern analytic therapist does not usually give lectures or advice about how the patient ought to manage his or her life. Instead, the analyst prefers to help the patient understand why he or she is unable to solve problems and internal conflicts that might be preventing one from knowing what to do in life.

Our goal is to help people improve the quality of their lives and their relationships.

James G. Fennessy, M.A., J.D.
Matawan, New Jersey