Psychodynamic therapy and Psychoanalysis for identity and existential issues
Ready to find the root causes of your problems?
Do you feel empty, isolated and exhausted from pretending you are ok? Are you feeling stuck in your relationship or jumping from one relationship to the next hoping that each one or someone will fulfill you? Going ’round in circles, always hitting your head on the same walls? Do you feel like you don’t know who you are anymore despite the familiarity? Like you’ve lost your sense of self while trying to be everything for everyone? You feel alone and guilty for not being able to pull yourself out of the funk. Ever wondered what is the meaning of your life; is there one? Do you struggle to stay connected while knowing that being alone is unavoidable?
It is very natural to ask these questions and feel the way that you do, because real life issues affect you in ways that are sometimes foreign even to yourself. Psychodynamic and psychoanalytic therapies help exactly with this: finding a deeper understanding of your circumstances, environment, and affect, how they each impact you, and how you can make them fit with one another in order to achieve internal balance and a good mental health; it’s also a good preventative tool.
Common existential issues
Most people deal with existential issues throughout life and for a very good reason: we’re introspective people with the ability/burden to see both the forest and the trees. Still, simply because it is common doesn’t mean that dealing with existential issues is a picnic; in fact an existential crisis can easily turn your life upside down and affect you deeply in most major aspects of your life, particularly to your core. The truth is that people who deal with identity and existential issues develop symptoms of anxiety, depression, paranoia, and more.
Some people feel like they lose their identity, like you’ve lost who you are over time. Work and family obligations take your focus away from yourself and onto others and after a while you find yourself doing things that you don’t enjoy doing (but the ones around do) and things that don’t represent you. You look around and realize that you feel like a repository for other peoples’ feelings and needs, but none of them belong to you.
Finding meaning in life
Others struggle to find meaning in their life, actions, dreams, and future. “What’s the point?” you might ask yourself “What’s the point of this life, a career, a family, etc?” this is a common and universal struggle that humanity has grappled with since the beginning of time.
Feeling alone/wanting not to
And yet others struggle to find the balance between relationships and aloneness. The idea that we are born alone and die alone can be very distressing to the point of impacting your mental health and relationships. Aloneness can manifest as a sharp pain to the core; it feels inescapable and permanent. The need to be in a relationship is also present, although they don’t always stick. You move though relationships and truly believe you are learning from your mistakes, but the pattern continues to repeat itself.
The kinds of problems you pose when you’re dealing with identity and existential issues demand an appropriate avenue where they can be handled, such as existential therapy. This is why if you had heart problems you would go and see a heart specialist and when you are dealing with existential issues, you will see an existential therapist, someone who knows their way around the universal human experience and the backways to the psyche.
Existential therapy helps bring out of yourself the very answers you are seeking. No, it’s not magic however, it does require a certain level of introspection and abstract thinking.
Existential therapy helps you become aware of yourself, your beliefs, values, ideas, and theories as well as your perception of the reality surrounding you. With existential therapy you discover the best and safest route to change the things that no longer work for you. You are able to do this because you will be exploring in depth how you formed your views of yourself and the world around, what those views hold, and whether they are in line with who you are or not.
Existential therapy helps you explore what it means to be human (to you), what it means to be you, achieve balance between aloneness and involvement, reduce anxiety and angst, and understand the multitude of feelings and emotional states that you are capable of.
Finally, existential therapy supports your capacity to reach your full potential and operates on the idea that ultimately you will choose on your own to act in the best interest of yourself and the ones around you.
More Perks of Existential Therapy
- helps you get unstuck and break through any mental blocks,
- safely guide you to face your fears and use them to free yourself,
- encourage and bring out new strengths in you so that you can really be in charge of your life and choices,
- guide you to explore and discover yourself, by learning from the past, and focusing on the present, to realize your future,
- empower you to become who you wish to be, and
- support you in becoming self aware, and make emotionally healthy changes during and long after the end of therapy.
Here is a more complete list of specific issues that existential therapy can help with:
- Fears, depression,
- shame & guilt,
- patterns of worry,
- helplessness and low self-steam.
- midlife crisis,
- burn out,
- eating disorders,
- sexual issues,
- sex trauma,
- communication issues,
- fear or loss of intimacy,
- loss of purpose, value, and fulfillment in life.
But how about…
The fact that my entire life could be turned upside down?
You know, nothing can stay inside forever, especially feelings. At some point, when you’ve reached your “fill” everything will have to come out and your life will indeed be turned upside down, except that it will not be in a controlled environment so you will not have much control. This is why therapy is an essential tool in figuring out your issues, because it offers you the advantage of a companion who is familiar with the road blocks and can guide you in the safest manner possible.
The thought of opening up, being so vulnerable, and going back through painful memories and experiences scare me and I fear opening cans of worms.
You are right, you are definitely going to open some cans of worms and the good news is that you won’t be alone to do it and deal with the consequences. Again, if there is one place where you can safely work through your demons, existential therapy is IT. If you choose to work with a therapist, you are handing over a lot of that weight you carry on your shoulders.
Existential therapy sounds like it takes a long time.
There are times when it takes people a very long time to open up, so in such cases therapy can take years, but the average is under 1 year. You may have heard that people come to therapy several times a week too and while that can occur, it is not the norm. Lots of people come to therapy just once a week. The length of therapy depends on a number of things including types of issues, severity, complexion, your level of resiliency etc.
Existential Therapy is so expensive!
You are right about that, too. Add to that the fact that the average therapist doesn’t take insurance, and you’re really stuck! Some therapists use something called sliding scale (I offer two slide scale slots) where the price of the session is dictated by your income so that the lower the income, the lower the fee. You can also try to check out the non-profits in your town to see if any offer low fee counseling. One thing I do, is offer my clients a therapy loyalty card (you can see it here) which gives them some nice discounts.
Why should I choose you?
My approach involves a comprehensive focus on both current symptom relief as well as finding the root causes of those problems and resolving them. My clients tell me that I help them truly see inside themselves which in turn helps them make appropriate choices.
If you have questions about whether existential therapy can help you with the issues you are dealing, contact me.