Time Missed: The First 15 Months of My Psychoanalysis
I finished my psychoanalysis in 1991. It took about six years. Psychoanalysis was hard work, and I always imagined that finishing would feel like graduation—a cause for celebrating. I certainly felt pride at having faced my darkest fears. At times I thought of analysis as a graduate degree in self-knowledge.
In some ways leaving T. (the first letter of my therapist’s last name) felt like when I left Memphis, my home town, and went a thousand miles northeast to college. I often said that I was relieved to be leaving my family—and 25 year later my analyst—to become independent. But in both cases I was afraid and at times homesick.
This is a book about the first 15 months of my psychoanalysis. This book covers what T. called the “material” of my analysis—basically my life story. But it is also about the evolution of my relationship with T. My vision of my personal history changed radically in the course of analysis. But most of these changes were produced not by the ritual telling and retelling of events from my life but rather from the feelings I developed for T.
For those who are considering seeking help from a therapist, I hope this account will give you the courage to make the plunge. For those people already in therapy, the purpose of this book is to offer encouragement. No matter how difficult or complicated your life may seem, it is possible to change things for the better. And for practicing therapists, and men and women training to become therapists, I hope this book helps you better understand your patients’ vulnerability and the tremendous power for good you have for the people who come to you for help.
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