I am a psychoanalyst. I will usually hold one or more initial meetings with a patient to clarify their difficulties and their reasons for seeking treatment in the context of her or his specific history and dilemmas. After this time of assessment I would usually have a discussion about the sort of treatment I believe is indicated, from shorter term counseling to a full psychoanalysis.
There may be many reasons to seek treatment. These can include: sadness, depression, anxiety, phobias, eating problems, difficulties with overwhelming emotions, sexual problems, family conflict, anger, social difficulties, difficulties in love, troubles with family of origin, parenting difficulties and childhood and adolescent problems.
Many patients find an initial few meetings helpful in clarifying the nature of their suffering. For some, there may be questions about their suffering and symptoms that remain unresolved. These questions can form the basis for starting psychoanalytic treatment. Such a decision is made in discussion with me.
Some adults may be content with the clarification of a few meetings. Others may find the analytic listening and responding I offer helpful, but do not wish for a full analysis. We might agree to a less intensive form of psychoanalytic counseling or therapy.