Couch Therapy

Couch Therapy. The renowned psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, introduced the couch while providing psychotherapy to his clients. The couch has become the iconic symbol of psychoanalysis and is depicted in television and the movies. Dr. Freud stated lying down on the couch was beneficial for emoting thoughts and feelings during “free association.”

While vacationing in Vienna I visited the Sigmund Freud Museum.  I sat on the couch he utilized to treat his patients imagining what it was like being one of Freud’s patients. While lying on a couch free association helps a person say what they need to say without putting too much thought into how it may sound. We have a conscious and unconscious mind. The unconscious mind includes socially unacceptable behavior, ideas, wishes and desires, traumatic memories and painful emotions that have been repressed  from our conscious mind. These thoughts affect our belief system and gives us information that may not be so helpful in conducting our lives.

While on the couch a person can feel relaxed enough to say the first thing that comes to their mind that may suggest something needed for the conscious mind to become aware of.  While lying supine (face up) the patient and the therapist do not make eye contact. This enables the patient to form their own thoughts without any visual feedback from the therapist. Some clients lie on my sofa and say they like it and others say they don’t prefer it. I like giving them the option.

Psychoanalytic therapy is a form of in-depth talk therapy that aims to bring unconscious or deeply buried thoughts and feelings to the conscious mind so that repressed experiences and emotions, often from childhood, can be brought to the surface and examined.

When I ask questions of my clients there tends to be some hesitation before providing an answer. I ask what is the first thing that comes to their mind as that is typically what is the truth. If you have to think about how to answer a question it may not provide authenticity to coming to a solution as people tend to answer in what they think is the “right” way to answer.

Whilst there may be a couch in your therapist’s office it is up to you whether or not you want to utilize it for talk therapy. Either way works.  If you need help identifying what bothers you in life contact me at (858) 735-1139.




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