Ana Valea

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

Psychotherapy Q & A

How will talking about my problems will change anything? A lot more goes on in psychotherapy than 'talking about' problems. The psychotherapist is trained to develop a relationship with the patient that enables the suffering underlying the patient's internal dynamics to be thought about, emotionally understood, and come to terms with, and this relationship is the medium for healing.

What is psychoanalytic psychotherapy? Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a way of treating psychological problems and/or dynamics as they present themselves in the 'here and now' of the relationship between patient and therapist. The UK Council for Psychotherapy website provides information about the nature of psychoanalytic psychotherapy in general. Anxieties, defences, compulsions, and the suffering that underpins them, inevitably emerge in the relationship with the therapist, and become available to understanding. Understanding enables integration of aspects of the self that are hidden from awareness because they are felt to be shameful or otherwise 'bad'.

I'm not well educated and I have trouble expressing myself in words That doesn't matter. Psychotherapy is not an intellectual activity. It does take courage to be honest with yourself and with your therapist, and a fair bit of motivation to commit to and stay with the process.

I know my problems are caused by sexual abuse in my childhood. What good will raking up the past do? I need to put it out of my mind, find a positive attitude and move on. Psychotherapy might be for you if you feel unable to move on, and efforts to put those experiences out of your mind have failed, or caused more problems. If you have found a satisfactory understanding of your difficulties, and if you can move on, it makes no sense for you to seek therapy with a psychotherapist.

I know my parents did their best for me. I don’t want to blame them for my problems. Blaming, whether this takes the form of self-blame or of blaming others, is usually a sign that something painful and distressing has not been sufficiently understood and come to terms with. The traumas that can emerge in psychotherapy may have occurred in previous generations, and understanding this can be helpful to patients struggling with the consequences in the present.

What happens in sessions? Sessions last for 50 minutes during which you are encouraged to say whatever comes to your mind, without editing or interference, however 'socially unacceptable', including your feelings and fantasies about the therapist. You may sit on a chair, where you can see the psychotherapist, or lie on a couch with your psychotherapist sitting behind you, nearby. This may help you to speak more freely. You may bring drawings, and other objects of significance to sessions.

I never have dreams. Does that matter? Part of the work of therapy would be to learn the language of your personal unconscious, as it is revealed in dreams and other material. Dreams can help the work, but are not essential. What matters is that you try to report, as faithfully as possible, what you are experiencing in the here and now of the session, whatever that may be.

How much does it cost? My current fee is £65. The fees might be reviewed annually in March, and any changes made to the fee will be introduced in May. 

Why would I come to you? There are so many therapists out there, I am confused.The decision about what therapy, or therapist, will best suit your needs and your circumstances, needs to be made with great care. My work begins with an assessment which will establish whether my services are appropriate for you at this point in time, or not. This could take one or more sessions. An understanding of your circumstances and difficulties will emerge, and together we will think about the best way forward for you.

Why should I trust you? You could be making me depend on you so that you can exploit me financially There is no requirement that you trust your therapist. However, the more you can share your fears and worries about the process, the more the therapist can help you to think about them. Be reassured that your therapist is bound by strict codes of ethics which are in place to protect you and inspire confidence in the process.

What if I can't come to a session, if I am ill, or on holiday? When arrangements for the work are agreed, these include fixed times for your sessions. This space is then yours until the arrangements change, and has to be paid for whether you attend or not, regardless of circumstances. If sufficient notice is given (2 weeks minimum) the fee will be reduced to the cost of room hire plus a nominal charge. You do not pay when I am away, and I notify you of my absences as far in advance as possible to enable you to take account of these when making your own plans.

When will I feel better? The work aims to help you to feel more whole, to be more fully yourself, to know your own mind, and to feel empowered to make any changes you may want to make in your life. You may not always find the process pleasurable or enjoyable, although it is usually profoundly satisfying.