|Posted on June 24, 2018 at 9:40 PM|
When my therapist of eight years retired, she referred me to another therapist. I was heartbroken. I did not want to see another therapist. But I had no choice. My current therapist was retiring and moving away, and that is how I found myself in the waiting room of this other therapist, who also happened to be a psychoanalyst. "She will be good for you", my former therapist said. I reluctantly trusted her, but suspected that this psychoanalyst could never replace my former therapist. And boy, was I wrong! A new world has opened up to me!
Before meeting my analyst, I was skeptical. I had been a "therapy veteran", and had seen many therapists throughout my life. "How can a psychoanalyst be different from any other psychotherapist?" I thought to myself. Inadvertently, life circumstances helped me find the answer to that question. For the first time in my life, someone joined me emotionally. Not looking at me from afar, not cognitively analyzing my behavior, not simply explaining to me why I was in pain. My analyst brought to the process not just her mind and her knowledge, but also - and mostly - her heart. She had the courage to be real and authentic, to make herself vulnerable to the intense feelings that would emerge, and to follow me wherever I needed her to go. We were in this together, and I have taken her places I could have never gone to before, when I was all alone.
I was inspired to get psychoanlytic training myself, so I could become a better therapist for my own patients. I applied to Newport Psychoanalytic Institute (www.npi.edu), and started an amazing journey into myself and into my work. My work with my patients has deepened significantly, and I feel much more gratification working in this deeper way.
My analyst's devotion, emotional strength, and yes - her own analytic training that undoubtedly contributed to her resilience and vulnerability, have all enabled her to be emotionally present with me in the ways I have longed for my whole life. It has been transformational, life altering, excruciatingly painful at times... but also exciting, meaningful, and oh so beautiful.
I am not the same person I used to be. I am different. I am stronger, more confident in myself and in what I have to offer to the world. I make better choices, and I am better able to pause and think before I act. I have developed new relationships, and have deepened older ones. In the course of my training, I have started and established my own private practice. I now have a firsthand experience of what it means to be with another person in a way that is meaningful and transformative, and I know how to use it to help others.