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Psychotherapy usually lasts much longer than counseling. This may be considered more in terms of years than months. In some problems, when counseling is not enough, psychotherapy may be an option. Counseling does not cure, psychotherapy does. Counseling can support you and provide you with some professional point of view or knowledge about your situation, psychotherapy can heal you. If some patterns that make you suffer take place repeatedly in your life, for example, you keep building relationships that break down after some time, or you choose partners that do not suit your needs, or you are in your thirties and you are not able to move out of your parent?s house although you would like to ? psychotherapy may be a place where you can be helped. In such and similar cases counseling may not be enough to help you get over your problems. It may just be an initial phase, but too short or too shallow to resolve deeper or longer lasting problems.

There may be some problems, like personality disorders, which cannot be cured with counseling or any short term psychotherapy. They usually require psychoanalysis or psychodynamic psychotherapy.

I also offer psychodynamic psychotherapy. As it requires more intense contact with a patient and involves complex unconscious processes, I recommend visiting my consulting room in Krakow, Poland.


Approaches to PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC understanding.

There are a few approaches to psychotherapy in general. The most developed and common are the following: humanistic, cognitive, behavioral (or as usually it is combined: cognitive-behavioral), systemic (family therapy, where the whole family comes to the clinic), psychodynamic, and psychoanalytical, of which only the last two ones take the unconscious process into account.

Understanding the unconscious process involves noticing what happens underneath the seemingly small or neutral daily events which sometimes may trigger strong emotions. For example a person may react or feel very much touched by a certain behavior of somebody else, and not understand why such a situation caused so intense emotions, involving anxiety, anger, sadness, humiliation, shame or other strong feelings. These may be elicited not only because of the current situation, but this situation may resemble some past events, which may lie underneath the intensity of the emotions. Sometimes it may happen that people grow up, the situations they encounter change, the people they spend time with have changed, but the emotions remain similar to those they felt many years ago. This phenomena may be called transference. Psychodynamic therapy and psychoanalysis are the only two types of psychotherapy that work with transference. This also may cause some strong emotions, because working with transference may by definition not be very much pleasant (simply because the emotions which are problematic are the reason why a person was looking for psychotherapeutic help, and it is just a matter of time when a patient will feel these emotions towards a therapist ? which means repeating his or her own pattern), but many therapists, including me, believe that working with transference or disclosing unconscious patterns is the most healing factor in therapy, especially when dealing with problems in relations and contacts with other people.

Let me give you an example situation of what transference may mean. This is not a real situation, but similar to real ones, and I have made it up for the purpose of providing you with an example. This story does not concern any real person.

A patient comes to a therapist and says she does not know why she enters into heated disputes with other people, like with her spouse, boss and her best friend. After some time, she starts annoying or attacking the therapist, saying that the therapist is the worst person she ever saw in her life (she had already said the same words to her husband, boss and friend), that she hates the therapist, and is going to smash the therapist?s car after she leaves the consultation room, because she feels abandoned for five days a week (the sessions take place on Mondays and Thursdays, and on the remaining days of the week the patient feels abandoned).

In everyday life, people who may have close relations with her, like her husband (who cannot go out to work, because his wife may feel abandoned) may react angrily and enter into disputes with her after she says she is going to take vengeance for leaving her for a few hours (by destroying the husband?s or therapist?s belongings). The therapist?s role, instead of entering into a dispute with the patient ? like other people may normally do and say that it is just normal that they will not spend 100% of their time with her ? is to break this pattern and help the patient become conscious of what is happening underneath. In such a case, it is quite possible that the patient may have felt abandoned by one of her closest relatives many years ago. The emotions may be extremely strong. The therapist is there to react calmly and with patience on the news that the patient wants to smash her car, and instead of shouting at the patient, what would be a normal way of protecting one?s goods, help the patient understand that the emotions she feels are to be addressed at someone else. Then, the patient and the therapist cooperate to find out what this situation resembles the patient of. For example, this may be about the patient?s mother, who left her when she was 3 years old and went to work abroad, or was physically present but absent-minded for many years, because she herself had some issues, like depression; or abandoned her little daughter because she was preoccupied with her newborn younger brother, etc. The list may virtually be endless, and may not be limited to physical abandonment. (If a particular interpretation seems to bring some relief, it means that it is correct ? if not, the patient and the therapist keep looking for some other explanation. There may be more than one interpretation that reveals some truth. Let?s suppose one of these is correct). In such circumstances the patient may be eventually able to understand that it is not the therapist, the husband, the boss or her friend that make her furious, but her mother. She may no longer want to smash the therapist?s car, but be able to realize that she is angry at her mother, who had been an ideal mother in her eyes up to this moment. Instead of quarreling with some people who may symbolize her mother in her adult life, like the therapist, boss, or husband, and thinking that her mother is the best person in the world, the patient may realize who she is really angry at. This may begin a new quality of relationship with her husband, friend and boss, who would no longer be the ?object? of her transference.

This is an oversimplified story, made up for the purpose of making it possible for you to understand what transference may mean. There are thousands of possibilities of what transference may imply ? something different in case of each particular person. Just like there is no genetic possibility of two identical people, transference means something different in everybody?s case, because every human being has their own life history ? which is unique.