Being in psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic therapy involves meeting with a therapist on a regular basis and talking freely about what is on one’s mind (free association). The therapist and patient work to understand unconscious meanings that are relevant to the patient’s life and relationships.

Psychoanalysis aims to be realistic, respecting the full complexity of peoples’ personalities and life histories.

The regular scheduling of sessions in psychoanalytic therapy and psychoanalysis is thought to be therapeutic, making it possible to work through unresolved past concerns that are re-emerging in the present.

Dreams have traditionally been important to the psychoanalytic process, since they provide an entry point to aspects of one’s desire that one may not ordinarily think about or discuss with others.

Some come to psychoanalysis after having tried medications or less intensive therapies and found these in some way lacking. Others immediately recognize that the psychoanalytic approach is right for them – perhaps because they are interested in an approach that will allow them to learn a great deal about themselves – and so are seeking psychoanalysis from the beginning.