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What does it mean to work therapeutically?

*Am I a patient, a client, both or even more?

In our long-term cooperation with a psychotherapist, we gradually become familiar with the way psychotherapy works and we develop our identity as persons working therapeutically. At the very beginning of the therapeutic work, the therapeutic dyad (therapist-treated person/patient/client/analysand) or group, needs to come to an agreement on the rules and boundaries that will govern and regulate their cooperation creating a safe environment for all.

During the therapeutic process variable memories, thoughts, and feelings concerning ourselves, significant others in our lives, the therapist, or fellow members in therapy (in cases of couples, family or group therapy) rise in our minds. These thoughts and feelings might be well experienced in the past or totally new to us and might cause us feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety, fear, but also relief, joy, impatience etc. The recognition, expression and management of these thoughts and feelings is a demanding task and the therapist is there to facilitate and support us with it.

We owe to acknowledge the courage and strength needed for the people who seek therapy and give it a try to face themselves, and  open up emotionally in the presence of the therapist and/or therapy fellow members. The psychotherapeutic process is a privilege for those who participate in it and every analysand is worthy of respect for her efforts.

As analysands, let us remind ourselves the courage and strength we have shown to be in therapy and the responsibility this choice of free will entails.

*Should I call myself a patient, a client, an analysand or what? The psychotherapeutic process is a cooperative, co-constructive experience between two or more people (therapist/therapists and the person/couple/family/group who wants to work therapeutically towards personal and interpersonal goals). he term "patient" fits more in a medical visit to be treated and cured. In psychotherapy, of course, the roles of the therapist and "patient" are distinct. What needs to be clarified is that a person working therapeutically with a psychotherapist should not be stigmatised and recognised as sick - unstable. The therapeutic work entails a mutual agreement (more details about the agreed therapeutic framework at Services -> Relational Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy) and professional commitment on therapist's part to offer her services to the "client". When working psychoanalytically the person being in psychoanalysis can be called an "analysand". One more time, we should avoid misconseptions reminding ourselves that relational psychoanalytic psychotherapy is not only about In-depth exploration and analysis of the "patient's" conscious and unconscious emotional world but a unique, dynamic process and cooperation of all participants.

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