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When people are in emotional pain such as feelings of anxiety, problems in their relationships, depression, panic attacks, stress, etc... they expect therapy to get rid of the problem.

 

Emotional pain is usually like the tip of an iceberg

 

 

 

but it's the big chunk of the iceberg under the water causing all that pain. 

The hidden chunk is much bigger and deeper than the tip

See an example. Let's call her Alice.

 

 

Alice feels anxious every day and has been having panic attacks before going to work

Even though her tip of the iceberg is anxiety and panic attacks, when she allows herself to go deeper in therapy, she realizes that...

... she feels like an impostor in her job, she feels she got the job out of luck and that at any moment people are gonna realize she doesn't belong there.

...  she's too hard on herself but calls that "being a perfectionist". She feels like nothing she ever does is enough.

 

... the harshness goes way back to when she was a child. Every time she showed her parents something she made, they said she could do better next time. They meant well and wanted to motivate her, but all she heard was "it isn't enough".

 

... being the youngest of 4 siblings that stood out in school and sports, she grew up thinking she had to be perfect and better than everyone else to deserve love.

If Alice only tried to "get rid of" the anxiety and panic attacks, all the real reasons would remain ignored. ​

Just like Alice, every person has a history, emotions and experiences that are waiting to be explored and taken care of.

 

 

Psychoanalysis is a way to give a voice and a meaning to your own history. 

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