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Early Childhood Problems are Compulsively Repeated: Psychoanalysis needs to know Early History to Help Work Through the Past

answered 02:02 PM EST, Sat March 23, 2013
anonymous anonymous
Is it possible to do psychoanalysis and not focus on my childhood experiences? I feel like my subconscious desires sabotage my relationship attempts but I am not really very interested in rehashing a lot of my difficult childhood experiences now that I am in my 30s.

Dr. Shirley Schaye Says...

You won't like my answer! It is absolutely impossble to do psychoanalysis without focusing on your past history. You, yourself said it and I quote you. " I feel like my subconscious desires sabotage my relationship attempts". In the course of a psychoanalysis the analyst would work with you about making conscious what happened n the past and would therefore help you work this through so that you are not always repeating the past. There is a term --- REPETITION COMPULSION --- that explains this. I am quoting from my web site www.newyorkcitytherapists.net on Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic Treatment:

"There is a concept that as psychodynamic/psychoanalytic therapists, we need to deal with on a daily basis. All of us — you, we, your friends, everybody repeats their past. We internalize what went on when we are young and then merely repeat symbolically, if not literally what happened when we were growing up. If it was a good past — then no problem, we are repeating a good past. However, when the past was not good or there were problems, we repeat that too. We call that Repetition Compulsion. We do not have the capacity to not repeat the past. So, one might ask, what should I do? None of us is capable of changing how our past influences the present. One needs someone who has the in-depth training to help them change their past so that they don’t keep repeating it. All of us try to change the problems we have experienced as children but low and behold, we merely repeat the past over and over with the hope of changing things but nothing ever changes. Only psychodynamically/psychoanalytically oriented treatment can help someone change the past.

Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic treatment helps one understand how these unconscious factors affect one’s relationships in work and in love. The first step in this kind of therapy is getting a family history so that first the therapist can learn what happened in the past and from there help the patient see what they are repeating in the present is a repetition of their past."

This should help explain why one's early chiildhood history is important. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Dr. Shirley Schaye

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Page last updated Mar 23, 2013

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