Psychoanalytic psychotherapy does not fit neatly into many modern notions of instant gratification. More probing than CBT, more deliberative than behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis is more like a journey than a jump start: a lengthy and labyrinthine effort which takes the mind itself as its subject. How deep you go is entirely a matter of how much you want to learn. This article imagines a set of answers to the question of how long an analytic therapy should ask, turning the dialogue back on the patient:
The answer I usually give isn’t the one people want to hear, because I answer with a question: “How long should yoga last?” “How long should you study piano?” “How long should you learn chess?”
The entire piece is worth a read, as it nicely describes what happens when the “honeymoon period” ends and the patient begins doing the real work of surfacing unpleasant or uncomfortable feelings. Hang in through this rocky period, however, and it can yield important and life-altering dividends for many years to come:
People who respond to psychoanalytic psychotherapy are people who want to understand themselves. How long will that take? You can stop an archeological dig at any time. Or you can keep digging and see what else turns up. It’s your choice.
To begin your own journey and speak with a New York psychotherapist today, contact the PPSC.