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deep therapy and time: delving into the present moment

On October 2nd covering

One of the great enduring clichés about psychoanalysis and deep psychotherapy is that it’s all about delving deeply into the past. It is true that we’re really interested in the totality of experiences that make a person the person they are, including early development and family relationships.

But a thing that happens when we meet several times a week, as we do in psychoanalysis, is that we get closer and closer to the present moment. What a delicious paradox.

Here’s how it works: when a person comes in for the first time, they have to tell all about who they are and where it hurts, where they’ve come from and want they want. After a while when we’re used to one another, it becomes more about how it’s going this week or today, plus all of the connections we make with their experiences in the past. They might start to find their feelings are not as mysterious, and they might begin to feel better.

At some point, we notice that some major conflict or problematic feeling is welling up right as we speak. For example, a person who is often fearful of others will suddenly be afraid of me, maybe right as they have something potent to say. The the whole therapy is focused to a fine point. The present moment becomes a microcosm of everything they struggle with. It’s enormously powerful and alive.

That’s when the work is really cooking. One point of meeting often, if resources permit, is it gets us away from reviewing the week and closer to the moving dot of the present moment — which is where life is.

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