counseling, consultation & psychoanalysis

Mindful Psychoanalysis: a short essay

Dr. Albert L. Dussault,  Ph.D., LIC.Mhc

Mindfulness in Psychoanalysis  
401 447 5765 650 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown, RI

Counseling, Consultation & Psychoanalysis

The Art & Science of Psychoanalysis has perhaps been around as the most easily recognized method of psychotherapy available.  Unfortunately it also remains the least understood of the counseling theories. The use of the couch in psychoanalysis has confused people because of its use in movies from the early 1950’s to the present.

Actually, it is perhaps the most comfortable and the most comprehensive of methods used today.  But also, the most expensive and the least available method on the market.  Training for the analyst never stops and a relationship lasts years, much like one we would more expect with a general practitioner of medicine or perhaps, a minister.

A person who decides to undertake an analysis makes a decision to look for his or her undreamt dreams, and the lost memories that formed the underpinnings of character & therefore repetition.  Somewhere in the theater of the mind there lies the seed of our personal unconscious, wishes that have been layered over with years of consciousness and blocked and repressed with ideas from a voice within that tell us “no”.

Differing from other forms of counseling, psychoanalysis probes the character aspects of the client and rarely asks of client or patient that they make any changes; rather the emphasis is on understanding one’s character in relation to the problem that is being presented. Changes emerge based on the growing awareness of new desires.   Marriage difficulties, family feuds, financial problems, sexual value differences, & social issues all converge on the personality and ask of a person that he or she step up to the plate and confront the resistance that is preventing health, happiness or success—the triune aspect of analysis.

The presenting problem most often has little to do with the outcome of the analysis because in most cases the person is stuck in his or her routine not understanding the reason or even the method by which they are losing out on what they want in life.

Aggression and desire are the dual drives, of the personality and the ultimate fusion of what we want and how we go about getting it create for each of us a circumstance in which we either are satisfied with our lives, or a circumstance in which we feel deprived of health, happiness and success. The ego, being what it is, becomes the default position.  Steeped in defenses as is its nature, the ego perpetuates a concentration on negativity which prevents the attraction of those states of consciousness that we all crave–peace, freedom, & gratitude.

The unconscious motives often govern our behavior in directions that prevent us from getting what we want out of life.  In time the unconscious takes over and pilots our lives in such a way as to make us feel we are driven by something outside of ourselves.  Returning control to the conscious aspect of self is the primary goal of an analysis.  Emerging from the narcissistic ego, into the clarity of Being, into an awakening is the goal.

Contrary to public opinion, psychoanalysis is actually enjoyable Perhaps it can be compared to a deep tissue massage, or a good Yoga class.  We might touch on some pain, but only briefly and in service of removing it from where it became lodged in the body.   Learning to operate the mechanisms of the mind, which have had a life of their own, is a very gratifying process.

It usually takes a minimum of six weeks for a person to determine if they are suitable for an analysis.

During this trial analysis items such as fee structure, frequency of sessions, areas of concern and specific problems or goals are discussed along with issues such as use of the couch, confidentiality and time and location of meetings.

In my 45 years of practice,  I have found people best suited for analysis are people who are seeking not so much to solve a problem, thought that certainly happens; but rather to understand life in its multidimensional facets.  I have often considered psychoanalysis to be an art form.  The patient is a canvas who frequently enters analysis in a torn and tattered way, already a masterpiece.  My job is to work as a Reconstructionist.  To return the canvas to the patient unmanipulated by the analyst, but repaired and reconditioned ready to stand in its own gallery.

Psychoanalysis exposes the innate talent and like other art forms it invents itself in a new way each time it is practiced.

A. L. Dussault

Charlestown, Rhode Island


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