Analysis provides a unique opportunity for intensive exploration of the personality and underlying patterns of behaviour. It can bring about deep-seated change.
Analysis is a process that fosters the individual’s understanding of themselves and their difficulties and the way they relate to others. The analysand (the person in analysis) and the analyst work together to explore troublesome, and often longstanding, conflicts that disturb and limit vitality in the present.
At the core of the analytic process is the relationship with the analyst. It is very likely that any difficulties that the person experiences in their life will manifest themselves in the relationship with the analyst in some way (this is known as the transference). This is to be expected and is, in fact, helpful as the analyst and analysand can then address these difficulties first-hand and work them through.
The process of analysis can be difficult and painful at times, and some courage and resolve is needed by the analysand in order to face the issues that may come up (see ‘When the going gets tough’ below).
All our analysts have undergone analysis themselves in order to allow them to work in depth.
There is an initial consultation where the individual can meet with the analyst to discuss their difficulties in a secure and confidential setting. Sometimes two or three meetings may be necessary in order to reach a decision about what is required for the person’s particular circumstances. Whilst analytic sessions are almost always 50 minutes in length, these initial consultations may be longer to allow enough time to discuss what is required. There is usually a charge for these sessions.
The SAP can also arrange a consultation with someone who may not go on to be the person’s analyst.
These initial consultations allow the person to discuss their needs and difficulties, to see how they feel about working with this analyst, to get a sense of what analysis is like, and to ask any particular questions they may have. Toward the end of this initial consultation process the analyst will discuss whether they feel analysis or psychotherapy could be of benefit to the individual, and will make recommendations concerning frequency of meetings or whether an alternative form of therapy would be more suitable. The analyst may be able to make a referral to another therapist if that is the case. The individual can then think about what is practicable for them and discuss this or any other issues with the analyst.
It is very difficult to say at the outset how long an analysis may last as this will relate uniquely to the individual and their particular needs and aims. It is a process that develops at its own pace. Sometimes what may seem like a limited difficulty may turn out to be related to longer-term difficulties, for example, difficulties following a bereavement may bring up wider issues about loss and relationships.
Sometimes an individual will come with a very definite and particular difficulty to work on, e.g. to do with trouble with a work colleague, and it may be that only a few sessions will be necessary in order to get the problem into some perspective again. Such shorter-term work is often referred to as ‘counselling’, although increasingly many people come to use the term counselling for any form of psychological help.
Sometimes analysis is difficult (!), challenging, disturbing or painful, as the person is put in touch with parts of themselves they have not acknowledged before, such as anger, hatred, love or intimacy, or as they explore painful experiences from the past. As described above, these issues may be experienced in relation to the analyst (in the transference). The analyst will be used to working with such feelings and, however difficult it may seem, it can be discussed and worked through with the analyst – analysis is frequently about facing what seems impossible precisely because it involves going beyond where the individual has currently got to in themselves and in their life.
It is always, essentially, the individual’s decision when to finish their analysis – when they have resolved the issues they wanted, or have done what feels possible or practicable at the time (but see comments on the impossible above). The person will then discuss this with the analyst. A suitable period for ending can then be decided upon – time enough to think about the individual’s situation, to consider the forthcoming ending, and to bring the analytic relationship to a close. The process of ending will quite often bring up issues which have not emerged before and time may need to be allowed for these things to be considered as well.
Hopefully these initial thoughts on analysis, therapy and short-term work will be helpful. We offer two ways of putting you in touch with a Jungian analyst.