Footfalls echo in the memory

Down the passage which we did not take

Towards the door we never opened

-T.S. Eliot (“Four Quartets,” 1948)

Psychoanalysis differs from psychodynamic psychotherapy in a number of ways. Sessions are held more frequently (between three and five times per week). This increased frequency encourages an intense relationship between analyst and analysand. Much of the work of psychoanalysis occurs within the exploration of this relationship. The patient's fantasies, dreams, memories, wishes, fears and hopes enter the verbal “playground” of the dyad. While the focus remains on the difficulties and personality patterns that the analysand unconsciously brings into play, the personalities of both participants contribute to the quality of the unfolding dialogue. Psychoanalytic treatment encourages the patient to venture into unexplored emotional territory (the passage not taken, the door never opened) as it seeks to convey what Christopher Bollas has termed “the unthought known” into language. Through associations, discoveries and interpretations, patient and analyst come to a deeper awareness of the patient's sense of self, internal life, source of suffering and meaning. At the beginning of an analysis one doesn't know precisely where this process will lead, but it proffers a freedom from negative repetitive patterns, real change in restrictive characterological styles and a greater sense of aliveness in oneself and in relation to others.

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