“People say, ‘Oh, does that mean you’re Freudian?’” said Adele Tutter, a psychoanalyst in Manhattan. “That’s kind of like asking a modern-day nuclear physicist whether he’s Copernican. Much of what Copernicus said was not true, but it helped. It was the foundation.”
Contemporary psychoanalysis has come a long way since the days of Freud and it has continued to evolve way beyond Freud's initial groundbreaking ideas. In essence, psychoanalysis was founded on the premise that our much of our behavior is driven by unconscious forces, that there are ways to understand these forces, and that we can release ourselves from their unrelenting grip. This is still a foundational idea in psychoanalysis, but nowadays psychoanalysis also incorporates findings from neighboring disciplines such as neuroscience, infant research, attachment theory, mindfulness, neurobiology, chaos theory and philosophy in a way that encompasses the most complex and nuanced theory of the mind currently available.
In contemporary psychoanalysis, the old caricature of the analyst saying nothing while the patient lies on the couch and dwells on his or her mother is, well, a caricature. Yes, talking about the past still happens when relevant and some people even lie on the couch, but techniques have evolved and the heart of the work is a deep, interactive, ongoing relationship between the therapist and the patient that is truly unrivaled in modern day life. In our increasingly noisy and frenetic lives, the commitment to meet with someone (once, twice or three times a week) who is exquisitely attuned to you in all of your complexity, contradiction and potential is nothing less than a singular commitment to discovering your most authentic self.
In a way, it's impossible to describe psychoanalysis without actually doing it. But please feel free to ask me any question you would like to get a sense if it might be right for you.