Daniel Meckel is a practitioner and scholar of psychoanalysis, which is otherwise known as "psychodynamic psychology". His doctoral studies at University of Chicago focused on comparative psychoanalytic theory and the roles of religious life and culture in psychoanalytic thought and practice. As a licensed psychoanalytic psychotherapist, Dan completed a four-year post-graduate program in psychoanalytic psychotherapy in Washington DC, and is presently an analytic candidate at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies in New York city.
As a contemporary practice for healing and personal change, psychoanalysis is a method within modern psychology that is empirically demonstrated to be effective for people who are struggling with long-standing difficulties in how they experience themselves and others, and in their interpersonal relationships, of all types. The emphasis here is on long-term difficulties, and psychoanalysis is a longer-term treatment option. There are plenty short-term forms of psychological treatment that can better produce more immediate relief from specific problems such as grief, anxiety, and depression, especially when these have their origins in specific events such as traumatic experience, loss and separation, and life transition. If one's psychological and related relationship struggles have been in place for many years, psychoanalysis can be a transformative experience that brings about permanent changes.
Psychoanalysis began with Freud and developed into diverse and illuminating understandings of human nature, personal development, and psychological suffering. With these ideas came many new methods of treatment and a now global influence (despite common misunderstanding that associates psychoanalysis exclusively with its nineteenth-century forms). What unites all forms of psychoanalysis is the idea that our experiences, perspectives, and personalities are strongly influenced by unconscious factors, for better or worse. Unconscious factors account for long standing psychological troubles; therefore therapies that focus exclusively on patterns of thought and assumptions, reasoning, or patterns of behavior, are often ineffective as agents of permanent change. We need a method that reaches the person at deeper levels of mental life and brings about permanent changes.
When you are in analysis, you work with a highly trained mental health practitioner -- an "analyst" -- who has received advanced post-graduate training for four to eight years above and beyond the graduate training required to become a licensed clinician. While in psychoanalysis, one attends frequent sessions of 45 to 50 minutes, three to five times a week. While five is best, three or four times is effective. Why so often? The frequency of sessions helps the work go deeper, maintain intensity, and shift from outside life to inside life. When you’re meeting at least three days a week, we are able to keep current about what’s happening in your outside life, while still having time to go inside to reflect and explore. The greater frequency also helps us stay focused and keeps the many levels of experience alive and vibrant in the process -- these experiences can be intense, difficult or painful, fascinating . The painful work uncovered one day has less time to go underground. The links from the unconscious to the conscious mind—from one day to the next—can be kept fresh and alive, both in the analyst’s mind and in the patient’s mind. The overall length of an analytic treatment depends upon each individual though it is often in the range of four years or more. The frequency and length of analytic treatment is based on the wise assumption that entrenched problems that have their origins in early life and reflect a long history take time to change. In other words, if it takes a long time to get oneself into self-destructive or painful life-patterns, it can take a while to get out of them! This is so, despite the powerful attraction of reputedly quick solutions.