Psychoanalytic therapy is unusually well-suited to addressing emotional issues that may have deep roots in your life. Unlike so-called “workbook” therapies which focus only on behavior, psychoanalysis focuses on the causes of that behavior – and on exploring better ways to address the issues at stake. One of the big topics we cover at the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center is anxiety: how to recognize it, and how to treat it from a psychoanalytic perspective.
This recent article discusses that process in some depth, noting what makes this approach different from some others in the field of psychology:
Depending on which school of psychoanalytic thought you ask, you will get different points of view on the matter. However, one thing in common is that as with any other symptom in psychoanalysis, the symptom of anxiety is understood as having an unconscious meaning, specific and unique to the individual, who presents with it.
The things we feel are not always literal reflections of the world around us. Often they gain unexpected power because they strike a symbolic chord within us, echoing or mirroring dynamics from earlier in our lives. Understanding anxiety this way helps us unlock the patterns that hold us back in adult life.