Psychoanalysis is a long-lasting, intensive process that requires a lot of effort and a serious investment from the patient. The classical version works 5 days a week, 45 minutes per session. Although, it is also possible to work at a lower frequency, between 1 and 4 sessions per week, a minimum of 2 sessions per week is recommended.
The total duration of psychoanalytic treatment varies from one year to several years. During psychoanalysis sessions, the patient stays on a couch (sofa) and the therapist is seated behind his visual field. The patient’s lying down position (semi-sitting) was taken from hypnotic interventions that Freud practiced at the beginning of his career. Its advantages are: it allows the patient to enter a state of relaxation, close to the sleeping state; in this position he has the freedom to dream, to regress and access the unconscious; the sensation of body impulses is facilitated; and the analyst can more easily control psychological reactions and processes.
Before the patient is accepted for psychoanalysis, a diagnostic assessment is carried out, the patient’s expectations are discussed, he is warned about the possible serious changes in the personality and him is explained how psychoanalysis works. The preliminary procedure requires the patient to receive a one-week reflection period to decide if he/she is willing to engage in such an approach. If the therapist and the patient decide that the problems are approachable through psychoanalysis, the exact time and the days of therapy are fixed. The patient is advised not to make radical changes in his (family, professional) life at least in the early stages of therapy until the unconscious motivations at the basis of these changes are analysed.