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Psychoanalysis is a form of talk therapy that has been practiced widely in the United States and internationally for many decades. The ideas behind psychoanalysis, which at one time were considered revolutionary, are now well accepted and include the following:
• There are aspects of our minds that function beneath our level of awareness and that shape the kind of relationships we make, the way we function at work, and the way we feel about ourselves.
• We can get hints about these unconscious thoughts and expectations by carefully examining the choices we make, our dreams, the spontaneous thoughts that flicker through our minds, and the feelings that come up as we interact with the people we care about.
• Many of these unconscious thoughts and expectations can be traced to our childhoods. Although they may have developed as the best solutions we could find to challenges we faced at home and in our world of peers, they may hinder us as adults unless we understand them as fully as possible.
Psychoanalysis is uniquely suited to make changes in the unconscious thoughts that can block our paths to self-fulfillment. When a person meets with his or her analyst four days weekly over an extended period of time, the obstacles that may get in the way of finding love, succeeding at work, or of feeling content with strong self esteem, come to life in the treatment room. When these problems emerge in the treatment, we can identify, understand, and change them.