Sometimes the work will start with a focus on a problematic communication with a significant other – whether that be a partner, parent, work colleague, sibling or friend. Other times a crisis situation may influence the decision to seek therapy but, in the process of speaking about one's life, it may come to light that there are long-standing issues contributing to a general feeling of unhappiness or anxiety.
HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?
Analytic work is often guided by what appears to be a throwaway or nonsensical comment, not unlike the absurdity of an encounter in a dream or slips of the tongue that reveal suppressed conflicts and desires. During a session an individual may utter an oft-used word or phrase, eg, 'she was the apple of her mother's eye', 'he was the baby of the family' – and be surprised by its complexity – as if hearing it for the first time.
WHO SAID THAT?
'When I really love someone, I can only show it by making aggressive and bad-taste remarks' (Slavoj Zizek). There is always a gap between the 'I' of the speaking being and 'the unconscious' (the Other of language). Hopefully, in the course of an analysis, the unconscious will insist on being heard in dreams, jokes, witticisms and retractions. Such verbal disruptions may lead to narrative crossroads, verbal impasses and articulated highways – and all in pursuit of an elusive truth that soars at the point of capture.
WHO DONE IT?
If you imagine yourself as someone who – like a detective in a stylish film noir – is tenacious in gathering clues, ponders and unpicks the alibis of the usual suspects, and (begrudgingly) reviews evidence from fresh perspectives, then psychoanalysis – as a discourse of investigation – may be of interest to you.