There are many different approaches to the treatment of emotional distress and life difficulties. They can generally be classified as counseling, psychotherapy or psychoanalysis. Counseling can be effective in addressing every-day life issues such as relationship problems, job related stresses or difficulties arising from life changes and transitions. Counseling may include the use of advice, problem solving strategies and new ways of viewing and understanding the problem.
Psychotherapy is an approach that often probes more deeply into the history and causes of the problem. In psychotherapy, specific symptoms such as depression, anxiety or obsessive behaviors are addressed. For some individuals I have worked with, counseling or psychotherapy, or most often a combination of both, is adequate to deal with the emotional distress that is the focus of the therapy. When counseling and psychotherapy are not adequate forms of treatment, psychoanalysis often proves to be helpful.
Psychoanalysis or analysis (terms often used interchangeably,) is a longer-term process that gives an individual more opportunity to deepen their healing process. The end result is that individuals get to know themselves more fully and often develop a deeper acceptance of themselves. While this may run counter to the quick-fix mindset of today’s fast paced world, individuals who commit to an analytic process find a sense of satisfaction in the time spent uncovering heretofore unknown aspects of their personalities. Psychoanalysis and analysis have evolved respectively out of the work of Sigmund Freud and C.G. Jung.