Who benefits from psychoanalysis

Anyone considering psychoanalysis wonders, “Who benefits from psychoanalysis? What kinds of personal attributes allow one to be successful in psychoanalysis? Will it work for me?” After reading, “why do people seek psychoanalysis” – a post about the kinds of concerns people bring to psychoanalysis –  you may wonder just what kinds of people would actually benefit from this sort of intensive psychoanalytic therapy. And will it help you to better understand yourself and to overcome your difficulties?

Psychoanalysis can bring about a metamorphosis. But, it is not for everyone. It is an emotionally demanding, time-consuming and rigorous endeavor. As a psychoanalyst on the border of Washington, DC, I’ve found that people who seek psychoanalysis and find it helpful share many of the attributes, below. It should noted, however, that no one possesses all of these characteristics, particularly, at the beginning of psychoanalysis. Rather, these traits are more comprehensively developed during psychoanalysis.

Individuals who benefit from psychoanalysis evidence some of the following:

  • They are highly motivated and tenacious. Often, they have been struggling with their difficulties for years. They seek more satisfying relationships with others. Similarly, they may wish to become more self-accepting. Beyond this, they are motivated. As one colleague put it, they have “fire in their bellies”; they are willing to work hard to achieve their goals.
  • They are able to tolerate self-examination. However, not everyone starts a psychoanalysis with this skill. Rather, it may be developed as the psychoanalysis progresses.
  • They have a capacity for longstanding relationships, whether with lovers, friends, family or colleagues. However, for many, these relationships tend to be fraught or conflictual. One goal of analysis is to develop healthier, more gratifying relationships with others.
  • They have a capacity to tolerate frustration. When, inevitably, conflicts occur in the psychoanalysis, they are able to speak openly with their psychoanalyst and to deepen their understanding of themselves. That is, they can stay the course and tolerate the bumps in the road that are intrinsic to the analytic journey. Of course, developing the requisite trust to do this takes time; it is a capacity that can be nurtured and honed.
  • They recognize that they play a role in their own difficulties. They are aware that their difficulties reflect their internal struggles and they are committed to better understanding these struggles so that they can better overcome the challenges they they create.
  • Although they have obstacles, they have also experienced a modicum of satisfaction and success in some areas of their lives. Whether with friends, lovers or family, in work or in school, certain aspects of their lives have been fulfilling.
  • Many have a good support network or they have a history of nurturing relationships despite some difficulties in this area. It should be noted that, often, these capacities grow and expand in psychoanalysis.
  • Many live in the world of words. They are able to to think metaphorically. While they realize that behavior has meaning they appreciate that the meaning of it is, often, outside of our awareness.
  • While they have goals for their future and a wish to improve their day-to-day lives, they remember their early childhood and appreciate that (while not telling the complete story by any means) these early experiences have deeply influenced their gifts and their struggles.
  • They can recall their dreams. And they appreciate that dreams may offer one window into their unconscious.
  • They recognize that feelings that are outside of our awareness may drive our behavior. And as one comes to understand ones feelings at an emotional level change may occur.
  • People who enter psychoanalysis are “sturdy”. That is, they have the capacity to deal with frustration and conflict. However, many do not recognize these internal capacities at the outset of their analytic journey.These strengths often develop more fully during treatment.
  • Despite having struggles that they feel warrant psychoanalysis, they have many strengths and gifts.

Note that no one enters analysis with all of these capacities. However, psychoanalysis is an excellent place to work on developing them. Beyond wondering learning about what kinds of people benefit from psychoanalysis, you may be wondering, “what happens in a consultation for psychoanalysis?”

Finally, you may be considering psychoanalysis with me. In addition to being a board-certified, Psychoanalyst and a Training and Supervising Analyst, I am a licensed (Clinical) Psychologist in Washington, DC and Maryland. Also, I have a Psypact license which allows me to provide teletherapy in over 35 states. If you feel you would benefit from psychoanalysis with me, I welcome your call: 240.483.3530.

Dr. Lynn Friedman

Dr. Lynn Friedman, Ph.D., FABP, is a Clinical Psychologist, a Supervising and Training Analyst, and a Clinical Supervisor in full-time, private practice. She provides evaluation, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis as well as supervision to psychoanalysts-in-training and other mental health professionals. Beyond this, she is a board certified, psychoanalyst who teaches at Johns Hopkins University and the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis.

I'm interested in exploring a consultation with you, what's my next step?

I provide psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, clinical consultation, supervision & executive coaching. If you are seeking consultation from a psychologist, psychoanalyst, in DC, feel free to call me: 240.483.3530.