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Monday, January 21, 2013

The Dreamer and the Pragmatist

I'm reading Adam Phillips' book, Promises, Promises - Essays on Psychoanalysis and Literature. In Chapter One, "Poetry and Psychoanalysis," Phillips discusses, among other things, the difference, generally speaking, between two different types of clients, the Dreamer and the Pragmatist.

Psychotherapy Clients - The Dreamer and the Pragmatist:
According to Adam Phillips, the client who is a Dreamer wants to free associate in therapy and go wherever his thoughts lead him, and the Pragmatist is focused on resolving his problems in therapy.  Whereas the Pragmatist wants to achieve things, the Dreamer is focused on the experiential.

Adam Phillips says the Dreamer wants the therapist to help her get back into her reverie, and the Pragmatist wants the therapist to help her find a solution to her problem.

The Pragmatist wants to know, in a practical way, what to do.  The Dreamer wants to discover the way and see what happens.

Of course, these are generalizations, and most clients don't fall neatly into one category or another.  People are often a combination of the two.

I've worked with both Dreamers and Pragmatists in my psychotherapy practice in NYC and both types of clients appeal to the different aspects in me that I identify with.

Psychotherapy with the Pragmatist
In many ways, I'm a Pragmatist and I like helping clients in a down-to-earth manner, especially clients who come in for brief therapy, assuming that brief therapy is the appropriate form of treatment for them.  

Psychotherapy with the Pragmatist is Often Brief Therapy
Brief therapy is appropriate where a client has a specific problem, with no major trauma, that lends itself to brief solution-oriented therapy.  Often, this client just needs some direction or guidance, an objective mental health professional to check in with, and they can often come up with practical solutions to their problems.  Long-term treatment isn't necessary, unless, over time, the client becomes curious and interested in exploring more about his inner world.

Psychotherapy with the  Dreamer
I also have a side of me that is a Dreamer or Seeker, and I also enjoy working with clients who are more interested in discovering their inner world and more focused on the "journey" rather than the "destination."

Psychotherapy with the Dreamer or Seeker is Often More Opened-Ended Treatment
My original training is in contemporary psychoanalysis.  I'm fascinated by the unconscious, including dreams.  When I work with dreams, I have different ways that I work, including contemporary psychodynamic dream work and Embodied Imagination dream work, which is a post-Jungian way of working developed by psychoanalyst, Robert Bosnak.  This type of psychotherapy is more open ended than brief treatment and, as in all therapy, the client decides when s/he has completed treatment.

Many Different Types of Psychotherapy - Many Choices for Psychotherapy Clients
Whether you're someone who seeks brief therapy, more open-ended psychodynamic treatment or something in between, there are so many different types of therapy today that you have many choices, including psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy, solution-focused therapy, cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT), EMDR, hypnotherapy, and Somatic Experiencing, to name just a few.

I usually recommend that people looking for a therapist trust their gut instincts when choosing a therapist.

See the link below for my article, "Psychotherapy: How to Choose a Psychotherapist" for more information.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my web site:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.


Psychotherapy: How to Choose a Psychotherapist

Promises, Promises - Essays on Psychoanalysis and Literature - by Adam Phillips



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