NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Contemporary Psychoanalysis and EMDR Therapy: A Powerful Combination to Overcome Trauma

In prior articles, I've discussed aspects of psychoanalysis as well as the benefits of using integrative therapy.

What is EMDR Therapy?
See my articles: 

In this article, I'm focusing on the powerful combination of contemporary psychoanalysis and EMDR therapy.

A Powerful Combination: Contemporary Psychoanalysis and EMDR Therapy

What is Contemporary Psychoanalysis?
This is a brief explanation of contemporary psychoanalysis, and I provide links below for books, specifically on a type of contemporary psychoanalysis called Relational psychoanalysis, for anyone who wants a more in-depth understanding of contemporary psychoanalysis.

Many people have the old stereotypical image of psychoanalysis as being the type of therapy where the client does all the talking while lying down on a couch and the psychoanalyst remains seated behind the client, quiet for long stretches at a time until she makes an interpretation to the client for the purpose of helping the client develop insight into his problems.

In the old stereotypical image of psychoanalysis, clients would come for multiple sessions per week, and this could go on for many years.  Also, the analyst tended to remain "abstinent" and "neutral" and did not self disclose anything personal.

Fortunately, very few psychoanalysts work this way any more.

Contemporary psychoanalysis is different from older forms of psychoanalysis.

For instance, I consider myself to be a Relational psychoanalyst, which is a form of contemporary psychoanalysis.

I work in an interactive, dynamic, empathetic and collaborative way with clients.

The number of times the client comes to therapy, whether the client sits up facing me or lays down on the couch or how long the client chooses to remain in therapy doesn't take away from the fact that I'm using contemporary psychoanalysis--even if I don't make interpretations.

Although I practice many different types of therapy, including EMDR Therapy, Somatic Experiencingclinical hypnosis, contemporary psychoanalysis informs my work in terms of the way I conceptualize the client's current problems, the importance of the unconscious mind and the transference aspects of therapy.

What is Relational Psychoanalysis?
Relational psychoanalysis is an integration of British Objects Relations, Self psychology and Interpersonal psychology.

In my professional opinion, this combination offers the best of contemporary psychoanalysis.

Stephen A. Mitchell, Ph.D. is recognized as the psychoanalyst who developed Relational psychoanalysis in the 1980s.

Stephen A. Mitchell and Jay Greenberg's book, Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory (1982) emphasized the importance of relationships.

Dr. Mitchell also wrote about Relational psychoanalysis in his book Relational Concepts in Psychoanalysis.

Combining Contemporary Psychoanalysis and EMDR Therapy
As I've mentioned in a prior article, I integrate different types of therapy depending upon the client's needs.  This includes integrating contemporary psychoanalysis and EMDR therapy, as needed.

When clients come to therapy to overcome traumatic events in their life, it's important for them to understand how their history contributed to their problems and contemporary psychoanalysis provides this perspective.

It's also important that they understand how their unconscious mind affects their history, their relationships, their decision-making process and, possibly, how their unconscious creates obstacles to overcoming their problems (see my article: Making the Unconscious Conscious).

Contemporary psychoanalysis, especially Relational psychoanalysis, allows clients to make these connections.

EMDR therapy, which was originally developed specifically to work on trauma, helps to process traumatic events so that they are no longer disturbing to clients.

Why is the Combination of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and EMDR Therapy So Effective?
Contemporary psychoanalysis and EMDR therapy offer powerful therapeutic benefits separately.  But when they're combined for trauma therapy, they offer the client the in-depth insight of contemporary psychoanalysis and EMDR's relatively faster way of processing trauma.

Among other aspects of EMDR therapy, EMDR helps clients to identify the negative beliefs that they have about themselves related to their trauma.  This negative belief is often rooted in family history and can often be found in many aspects of the client's life.

For example, the negative belief related to the traumatic memory might be "I'm unlovable," which is often part of other problems--not just the one that they're coming in to work on (see my article: Overcoming the Emotional Pain of Feeling Unlovable for more details).

EMDR therapy often has generalizable effects, which means that the therapist and client don't have to work on every traumatic event related to the negative belief.

Contemporary psychoanalysis offers the client an opportunity to appreciate the depth of the negative belief as well as other aspects of the trauma.

EMDR therapy offers clients an opportunity to unlock information related to the trauma that is stored in a maladaptive way in the brain.  It allows for memory reconsolidation, which is one of the reasons why it works relatively quickly compared to other forms of trauma therapy.

Combining EMDR therapy and contemporary psychoanalysis provides the most powerful and effective aspects of in-depth therapy with relatively brief therapy.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you have been suffering with unresolved psychological trauma, you owe it to yourself to get help from a trauma therapist (see my article: How to Choose a Psychotherapist).

Resolving your trauma will free you from a history that has been keeping you stuck in your life.

Rather than suffering on your own, you owe it to yourself to get help from a trauma therapist.

A skilled trauma therapist can help you to overcome the problems that are keeping you from maximizing your potential.

See my articles: 

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist with over 20 years of experience.

I work with individuals and couples.

For clients who are already in therapy with therapists who do not do EMDR therapy and who want to remain with their therapists, I also provide adjunctive EMDR therapy so that clients can remain with their therapists (see my article: What is Adjunctive EMDR Therapy?).

I have helped many clients to overcome their traumatic history to lead a more fulfilling life.

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

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.