Janice Lindsay-Hartz, Ph.D., P.A.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Miami, Florida
What Is Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy?

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy helps people become more aware of  how their minds
work, so that they can make wise changes in their lives.  With the help of a
psychotherapist, who provides support and empathy, people come to understand
more clearly why they think, feel and act the way they do.  Through the process of
psychotherapy, people gain insight into all sorts of habit patterns that affect the way
they relate to others (from intimate others and family members to work colleagues),
the way they react to situations, and their own internal thought and feeling patterns.  

With the help of a psychotherapist, people learn to become more aware of the
stream of thoughts and feelings that affect how they relate to others, and how they
feel internally.  In therapy, people can start to explore the more hidden reasons for
the ways they think, and the ways they relate to others. Not only do people gain more
self-understanding, but then they are freer to make changes in their lives.  

People learn more about how their past is continuing to influence  the present, even
outside of their normal awareness. They learn to start connecting past to current
difficulties.  Greater awareness of these past influences can lead to the freedom to
act and think in new and wiser ways.  The increase in self-knowledge and emotional
growth contributes to richer interpersonal relationships and a more effective use of
talents and abilities.  Self-esteem usually increases.   Troubling symptoms which
people experience (such as anxiety, depression, sabotaging one's own success,
having affairs, repeated disappointments in personal relationships, choosing difficult
partners, seeming lethargic, struggling with personal losses and transitions, feeling
over-whelmed, over worrying) often provide clues to forces that are outside of
normal awareness.  Exploring the full range of such symptoms, and learning more
about even their hidden aspects, provides leverage to begin to make helpful changes
in life.  Sometimes exploring dreams, and the stream of conscious thoughts which
are always there in the background, helps people become more aware of how their
mind and feelings work, and helps people make wise changes.  Previously puzzling
symptoms and incidents become more understandable.  Over time, the troubling
symptoms usually decrease or disappear; and more effective and healthy habit
patterns are learned.

Sometimes, people come to therapy because they know they have struggled with
underlying feelings of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or sexual or intimacy
problems for most of their lives.  Even though they may function fairly well on the
surface, they know they could feel better.   Through therapy people are able to gain a
greater understanding of their issues, and to make changes to resolve them.   

Other times, people come to therapy when they stand at a crossroad in their lives,
and are not sure what to do.  (For example, "Should I stay or leave – my job, my
relationship, etc.?")  Although most people long to find a wise advisor who will simply
tell them which path to take, therapy actually offers something a little different.  The
therapist helps patients enhance their understanding of each path at the crossroads,
including the sometimes hidden meanings.  Then patients become freer to use their
own wisdom to choose which path to take, or to decide that a problem is not

Link to an article summarizing the
scientific evidence for the effectiveness of
psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
Near S. Dixie
Highway and
S.W. 22nd Ave.
Miami, FL  33133

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