Psychoanalysis FAQ

Q: What is psychoanalytic treatment like today?

Popular imagery of psychoanalysis has been less than complimentary. We see the farcical images of the endless analysis depicted in Woody Allen movies; television shows of silent analysts saying nothing more than an occasional “uh-hmm”; or the devious ‘shrinks’ in some of today’s film mysteries. People often quickly dismiss psychoanalysis with comments such as “I do not want to dwell on the past,” … “I shouldn’t blame everything on my parents,” …  “Therapy is too indulgent,” … “I do not want to become too dependent on seeing a ‘shrink’,” etc. Contemporary psychoanalysts are aware of these concerns and can demonstrate that an analysis may be a way to free you from entanglements with the past, helping you become more independent with more choices in life. Becoming more aware of what makes us tick gives us control and helps us to develop individual responsibility. To that extent it takes some courage to face one’s past demons.

Q: What types of problems can be treated?

A wide range of issues may be treated in psychoanalysis. We have seen patients for the treatment of distressing emotions such as anxiety and depression; inhibitions; interpersonal difficulties; family problems; work productivity and creativity; self-defeating patterns; and life transition and identity concerns.  We understand that many of our patients have individual issues that are not easily categorized and would need to be assessed in an initial consultation.

Q: How does it work?

Some of our faculty have described psychoanalysis as a type of learning laboratory: A place in which the analyst can help the patient step back and look at his or her inner world as well as problems in every day life.  How the patient experiences the analyst and behaves in the session can often provide a lens through which learning takes place.  Meeting at least three times per week allows people to explore aspects of themselves with some consistency and in depth.

Q: Who could benefit from an analysis?

“Most anyone” is one answer.  The White Institute historically has expanded the application of psychoanalysis to a variety of people with a broad range of problems. Individuals who want to change aspects of their personality and their inner experiences may find considerable help in an analysis.  Mental health professionals and people facing the challenges of the interpersonal needs of others (human resource, education, management) have found that knowledge gained in their personal analysis is extremely helpful in the workplace.  Parents have been especially helped by psychoanalysis as they reshape their old family maladaptive patterns into healthier ways of relating.  However, the best answer to this question as to whether analysis is appropriate can only be determined by an individual consultation.

Q: Who are the WAWI psychoanalysts?

You may work with a psychoanalyst in training under supervision in our low fee clinic. Psychoanalysts “in training” are experienced mental health professionals with medical or graduate degrees and are New York State licensed psychotherapists.  Most are also treating their own patients in private practices.  These carefully selected professionals study at the White Institute for advanced training beyond their medical or doctoral degrees. You may also request a referral to a senior psychoanalyst at the standard fees that are prevalent in New York City.  Several of our senior psychoanalysts have also offered to adjust fees for patients with financial need.

Q: How can I afford psychoanalysis?

For the last 60 years the White Institute has worked with individuals to make psychoanalysis affordable.  In your initial consultation you will be able to arrange fees that may be adjusted for your out of pocket expenses beyond the amount that your insurance covers.  Please keep in mind that most insurance coverage is quite minimal.  We do not require that patients have insurance coverage to be eligible for low-cost treatment in our Clinical Services.

Q: How do I start the process?

Please complete the clinic application online or download a copy and send it to the White Institute Clinical Services, 20 West 74th Street, New York, NY 10023.  You may also call the clinic administrator, Ms. Leila Sosa,  at (212) 873-7070 or email her for more information.  Once we receive your application we will contact you within the week.  If you have any special concerns and questions, please feel free to call the Director of Clinical Services, Stacey Nathan-Virga, Ph.D.. Privacy and confidentiality are a primary concern at the White Institute.

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