The Relationship Between Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy: Getting It Right At Last!

The relationship between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy remains confusing, ambiguous, and problematic for psychoanalysts and psychotherapists. Volumes devoted to this topic have not been helpful in promoting an understanding of the similarities and differences of the therapies because the concepts and formulations that have been used are on a level of abstraction that is distant from clinical experience. With an experiential perspective and the clinical theory of psychoanalysis, greater clarity can be achieved in understanding the relationship of the two therapies. In developing my premise, I demonstrate that my approach and technique with all patients whether the therapy is psychotherapy or psychoanalysis is similar, i.e. to reduce the effect of resistances against telling one’s story that will increase the capacity to be in touch with oneself and experience an increase wholeness and solidity of self.

In psychoanalysis and at times in psychotherapy an emotional relationship develops, that becomes the subjective organizing center of the psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.   The subjective organizing center promotes the progress of the therapy and envelopes the resistances that retard the progress of the therapy. For the author, the term psychotherapeutic third captures this subjective entity. In psychoanalysis in addition to the development of a psychotherapeutic third a co-construction of an ideal fostered by the analyst also develops.

The ideal is based upon a conviction that by consistently applying the analytic attitude the resistances that analyst and patient are struggling to overcome which are enveloped in the psychotherapeutic third will be reduced enabling the patient and analyst the achievement of greater freedom and autonomy. This conviction of the analyst that becomes the catalyst for the co-constructed ideal generally develops in psychoanalytic training while being immersed in the psychoanalysis of several patients with the support of an institute and the guidance of supervisors.