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Psychoanalytic Therapist Orlando

Looking for a Psychoanalytic Therapist in Orlando?

Dr. Alexander Sidawi is a University of Florida trained, board certified physician psychiatrist who provides psychodynamic therapy services in addition to medication management. 

Dr. Sidawi was trained specifically in psychodynamic therapy, and was awarded the Ross. A. McElroy Psychotherapy Award, a recognition of excellence in psychotherapy. He values spending time with his patients, and prefers to view their lives much more broadly than just the medications he prescribes. He believes in listening intently to your concerns and taking the time necessary to build a trusting connection, to get past the symptoms and down to the root cause of your struggles.

Feel free to head to our main site at any point by clicking the button below, where you can learn more about Analyze Psychiatry, Dr. Sidawi and his treatment philosophy.

Picture showing Dr. Alexander Sidawi, a psychiatrist in Orlando Florida

What Is Psychoanalytic Therapy?

Psychoanalytic therapy is a type of talk therapy that can be used to treat many psychiatric ailments. It has shown to be as effective as other types of therapy such as CBT by a number of studies, which can be further explored in our post about the literature supporting psychodynamics. It differs from CBT in many ways, which can be explored in our post, “Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and How It’s Different Than CBT.

The major themes in psychodynamic therapy revolve around the exploration of the unconscious mind, early childhood experiences, and the development of self-awareness and insight into one’s own behavior and feelings. By bringing these unconscious conflicts to the forefront, individuals can work through them, leading to healthier ways of thinking and interacting. Freud once said that “where id was, there ego shall be,” referencing the healing aspect of making unconscious thought conscious. In other words, it’s hard to fix a problem you don’t even know exists, and just becoming aware of a pattern can help a person learn to address it.

An important part of psychoanalytic therapy is exploring emotions that one might struggle with. As humans, we experience a myriad of emotions on a daily basis, and sometimes even have multiple conflicting emotions to one situation. Emotional dysregulation can express itself in many ways. Examples include: trouble expressing a natural emotional reaction such as being confrontational when angry or crying when sad, trouble managing overwhelming emotions such as guilt or anger, and even trouble pinpointing which emotion one is feeling in any given moment.

Another integral and unique aspect of psychoanalytic therapy is paying attention to how the relationship between the therapist and patient unfolds.  This is also termed “transference-countertransference.” Often times, patterns that happen in other relationships, happen between the patient and the therapist and can be used as a learning experience. For example, perhaps a patient skips a few sessions after their therapist said something that angered them in their last session. The therapist might bring this up at the next attended session, to explore if avoidance is a common method for the patient to manage their anger and how this response pattern might be impacting their other relationships. 

One healing aspect of the patient-therapist relationship is the ability to relearn how to connect with another person in a healthy way. With the therapist leading by example and modeling what a healthy relationship can be like, a patient can relearn how to safely and effectively communicate their feelings, trust and connect with others. This focus on the dynamics between therapist and client serves as a mirror for understanding and healing past relational wounds, enabling individuals to form more secure and fulfilling connections with others.

Frequently Asked Questions About Psychoanalytic Therapy

Some of the goals of psychodynamic therapy include symptom relief, insight, control, identity, self-esteem, emotional management, ego strength, serenity, and ability to work/love/play:

  • Symptom Relief: One primary goal of psychodynamic therapy is to alleviate psychological symptoms that cause distress, such as anxiety, depression, or phobias. By addressing the root causes of these symptoms, the therapy aims to provide lasting relief rather than temporary fixes.

  • Insight: Gaining insight into one’s own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors is a crucial aspect of psychodynamic therapy. This includes understanding how past experiences influence current behavior and emotional responses, allowing for deeper self-awareness and personal growth.

  • Control / Agency: This refers to enhancing an individual’s sense of control over their life and decisions. Psychodynamic therapy helps patients recognize their power to effect change in their lives, thereby increasing their sense of agency.

  • Identity: In the context of modern society’s endless complexities and pressures, psychodynamic therapy aims to help individuals navigate their identity and find a sense of self amidst societal expectations and the often overwhelming choices available.

  • Self-Esteem: Building a healthier self-image and boosting self-esteem are key objectives. The therapy process encourages self-acceptance and helps individuals understand and mitigate the impact of critical or negative self-beliefs.

  • Feeling Recognition and Management: Developing emotional intelligence involves recognizing one’s own emotions and those of others, understanding how emotions influence behavior, and learning to manage emotions effectively. This goal is pivotal for improving interpersonal relationships and personal well-being.

  • Ego Strength: Strengthening the ego involves building resilience, improving coping mechanisms, and enhancing the ability to deal with internal conflicts and external stresses. A strong ego is essential for navigating life’s challenges with flexibility and strength.

  • Ability to Work, Love, and Play: Psychodynamic therapy aims to improve the individual’s capacity to engage meaningfully in work, establish and maintain loving relationships, and enjoy leisure activities. This balance is considered essential for a fulfilling life.

  • Serenity: Achieving a state of inner peace and serenity, where individuals can cope with life’s uncertainties and stresses without undue anxiety or distress, is a fundamental goal. This involves cultivating a sense of calm and resilience that supports overall mental health and well-being.

Things that might be discussed in your first psychodynamic therapy session include why you’re coming in now and if this has happened before, as well as topics such as childhood, early memories, reactions to separation, major family dynamic chances, childhood illnesses, school/work history, and sexual history : 

  1. Why now? – We’ll discuss what prompted you to seek therapy at this particular moment. Understanding the catalyst for this decision can help illuminate your current challenges and goals.

  2. Has this happened before? – Exploring whether you’ve encountered similar feelings or situations in the past can provide insight into patterns or recurring issues in your life.

  3. Childhood memories – Discussing your childhood experiences, both positive and negative, can reveal significant influences on your current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

  4. Earliest memory? – Delving into your earliest memory can uncover underlying themes of your personality, as these memories often reflect significant aspects of our identity and worldview.

  5. Reactions to separations – Your responses to early separations or transitions, such as going to school, can reveal how you cope with change and loss, which can be foundational to understanding current attachment styles and behaviors.

  6. Major moves or disruptions in family dynamic – Significant changes or stressors in your family life, such as moves or changes in family structure, can have a lasting impact on your sense of stability and reactions to change.

  7. Childhood illnesses or accidents – Discussing any major illnesses or accidents you experienced during childhood can help uncover how these events have shaped your perceptions of health, safety, and vulnerability.

  8. School history – Your experiences in school, including academic and social aspects, can provide insights into your self-esteem, social skills, and coping mechanisms.

  9. Work history – Talking about your work history, including your successes and challenges, can reveal your values, aspirations, and stressors related to achievement and identity.

  10. First sexual experience, sexual history, and current sex life – Exploring your sexual history and current experiences can provide a deeper understanding of your attitudes towards intimacy, body image, and relational dynamics.

Psychodynamic therapy is effective for most psychiatric diagnoses and has significant data supporting it. While it is not as simple to conduct research studies on due to it’s non-manualized approach, more big data in its support comes out every year.

While it has been shown to be as effective as other therapies for depression, anxiety etc, it tends to outshine other types of therapy for personality disorders such as narcissism, borderline, avoidant, etc.

Any mental health professional trained in psychoanalytic therapy may provide this type of therapy. This might include psychiatrists, psychologists or counselors, depending on where they received their training and which type of therapy they were primarily trained in.

Psychodynamic therapy does not follow a manual or rule book, and thus length varies depending on what the goals of therapy are.

Psychodynamic therapy appointments are generally 45 minutes to 1 hour long.

The specific type of psychoanalytic therapy we provide, termed psychodynamic therapy is generally done once weekly. In some situations, sessions may go up to multiple times per week or down to once every 2 weeks. 

Psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapy both are rooted in the same beliefs and goals, the primary difference is the amount of therapy appointments per week. Psychodynamic therapy usually occurs 1-2 times per week, while psychoanalytic therapy can occur up to 5 times per week.

In a therapy session, you will discuss with your therapist what is on your mind. It could be anything, including new stressors or things about your past you have been thinking about. Your therapist will listen intently, helping you to make sense of your stressors and guide you towards your predetermined mental health goals.

There is ample medical literature supporting talk therapy to help achieve remission of psychiatric illnesses. Each patient is different and may require a different kind of therapy for the best chance of success. For anxiety and depression, there is ample date supporting that medications and talk therapy work better than just medications or just talk therapy. Talk therapy can be used effectively for a number of psychiatric diagnosis. You can further explore the different diagnoses we treat on our treatment page.