Psychoanalysis Perth

Psychoanalysis therapy aims to enhance a client's self-awareness and foster an understanding of how past experiences influence present behaviour.

“Our past experiences in life shape us, but they don’t have to define us.”

What is Psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis is a highly specialised treatment based on the observation that people are often unaware of the many internal factors that determine their emotions and behaviour. Because it addresses core problems as well as symptoms, psychoanalysis is a comprehensive treatment for many psychological and emotional difficulties in appropriate individuals. It enables people to become aware of inner forces that affect life and helps master those inner forces that are out of conscious control. Think of it like peeling back the layers of an onion, and with each layer the causes and significance of our symptoms become more and more evident and may eventually disappear as the client learns how to sit with, and manage their internal world.

There is a misconception that psychoanalysis focuses on themes of sexuality and is a treatment of the past. Psychoanalysis has a contemporary application and relevance, especially in our current times. One of the distinguishing features of psychoanalysis is that it focuses on people’s experience rather than just their behaviour with lasting and lifechanging benefits. Psychodynamic therapy and psychoanalytical psychotherapy are modern variations of psychoanalysis. They share several concepts with psychoanalysis, and also look to your past for answers

What sort of issues can psychoanalytic psychotherapy help with?

Research shows that psychoanalytic psychotherapy is effective in the treatment of both mild and complex mental health problems, and the benefits of the therapy grow after treatment has ended. Psychoanalytical psychotherapy is suited to all individuals; adults, adolescents, and children, suffering from a broad range of clinical disorders including; psychotic disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma related disorders and mood disorders such as bi-polar. In work with children, where speech is less developed, play related activities are also used to facilitate the work of therapy. As long as the subject has a desire to enter therapeutic work and can speak for themselves they can proceed.

There are many reasons why someone might decide to see a psychoanalytical psychotherapist. There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ reasons: psychoanalytical psychotherapy is an invitation to speak — not only about what worries and troubles us, but simply about the things that matter.



An analogy to help understand Psychoanalysis?

The Unconscious as Buried Artifacts

In the analogy, the unconscious mind is likened to layers of an archaeological site. These layers represent the accumulation of experiences, memories, and emotions over time.The unconscious, like buried artifacts, holds valuable information that may not be immediately accessible. Psychoanalytic therapists believe that much of human behavior and thought processes are influenced by elements stored in this hidden realm.

Tools of the Trade:

Psychoanalysts, acting as metaphorical archaeologists, use specific tools in their therapeutic approach. Instead of physical brushes and shovels, they utilize techniques such as free association, dream analysis, and transference to unearth psychological material.

These tools help excavate buried emotions, memories, and unresolved conflicts, bringing them to the surface for examination and understanding.

Layers of Development:

The layers of the archaeological site represent different stages of an individual’s development, from early childhood experiences to more recent events. Each layer contributes to the overall composition of the person’s psyche.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy often involves exploring these developmental layers to uncover the roots of current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Integration and Reconstruction:

Much like an archaeologist reconstructs historical artifacts, psychoanalysts assist patients in integrating and making sense of their unconscious material. This process involves connecting fragmented memories and understanding the significance of past experiences.

By piecing together these psychological fragments, individuals gain a more comprehensive view of themselves, fostering self-awareness and personal growth.

Respecting Individual History:

Archaeologists respect the historical integrity of a site, and similarly, psychoanalysts honor the uniqueness of each patient’s personal history. The therapeutic process is tailored to the individual, acknowledging that everyone’s unconscious terrain is distinct.

This personalized approach allows for a deep exploration of the patient’s subjective experience, recognizing the impact of their specific life events on their psychological makeup.

Transformation and Healing:

Ultimately, the goal of psychoanalytic psychotherapy is transformation and healing. By bringing unconscious material to light, individuals can gain insights into repetitive patterns, break free from unconscious constraints, and work towards resolving inner conflicts.

The process aims to empower individuals to navigate their lives with a greater understanding of themselves, fostering emotional well-being and personal fulfillment.

In summary, the analogy of an archaeologist uncovering layers of an ancient site provides a rich metaphor for understanding the intricate process of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, where the exploration of the unconscious leads to self-discovery, integration, and therapeutic growth.

What can I expect when working with a psychoanalytical psychotherapist?

  • Psychoanalytic psychotherapy focuses on gaining insight into your mental health and relationships by uncovering subconscious content and experiencing how your internal and interpersonal issues resurface in the patient-therapist transference relationship.
  • Psychoanalytic psychotherapy attends to what arises in the transference relationship, to your object relations, and to the role defence mechanisms play in your mental health and your relationships.
  • During Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, you will be sitting on a chair rather than lying on a couch.
  • Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy upholds to tradition of 50-minute sessions.
  • The duration of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy is medium to long-term.
  • Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is not a ‘quick fix’ but is a long-term commitment, and there is no limit on the number of sessions you may need.
Michiel Gonzales

Registered Psychologist

Meet Michiel Gonzales

Michiel is a registered psychologist and has extensive experience working in the mental health field with a variety of presentations. ‘I have learned that deep and lasting change is possible, that long-term issues can be resolved, and people can be free of emotional pain they carry by making sense of difficult experiences together, both past and present, and moving towards a place of self-understanding’. Michiel works with adults and adolescents using an integrative approach which is based on empathy and building a strong mutual respect and working relationship with clients.

Michiel’s approach to therapy is to help clients gain greater insight and awareness into their internal world and patterns of behaviour. He assists his clients in meeting their needs and goals by helping them effectively relate to themselves and other people. ‘With a look beyond just coping, I try to help people resolve the core emotional and relational causes of their anxiety and symptoms. Each one of my clients comes from a unique background and set of experiences, and I collaboratively tailor each therapeutic intervention to my client’s individual needs by drawing upon the following broad range of evidence-based therapeutic treatments: psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy, schema therapy, acceptance commitment therapy (ACT), and CBT. 

My background and experience is working as youth counsellor at Youth Focus and working with participants from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) who experience severe and enduring psychosocial disabilities. You are welcome to book an appointment to explore ways that we can work together to enhance your well-being.

“Instead of ready-made answers or advice, I offer a safe space free from judgement, where you can learn to listen to yourself and be heard without preconceptions. By doing so, you can come to a better understanding of who you are and what prevents you from leading a richer and more fulfilling life.