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fjones wrote

This is an enormous question so I'd like to respond with more questions:

  • What are you looking for from therapy? If its someone to listen and respond to your struggles, I would recommend against Freudian psychoanalysis. Traditionally, the analyst just lets you talk and doesn't respond much. Jungian and Lacanian analysts are slightly better, though only major cities will have Jungian or Lacanian Institutes. Some MSW's are clinically licensed and have sliding scale fees ranging from zero to $40-60/hour. Most therapists will practice a mixture of therapeutic techniques from cognitive to behavior mod. I benefited more from MSW's than the Jungian analyst I saw. The MSW challenged me to change my substance abuse habits, which helped enormously.

  • What is your own formulation of the problem you're trying to fix with therapy? For instance, as Foucault showed, the very language of psychotherapy makes a "symptom" of feelings which may be culturally-based: so you may be called "ill" say, for your Indigenous (or LGBTQ, anarchist) beliefs. Please talk to a smart friend you trust and try to state your problem in your own way: see if there are not other resources around which might help you (therapy groups, massage, acupuncture, art therapy, music therapy, hypnotherapy, water therapy, herbs, etc). Institutionalized psychotherapy, in general, attempts to get the patient/client/analysand to adapt to the majoritarian reality of their society (read white & middle class). Most of the alternative therapies are nowhere near as expensive as analysis ($300/hour). Many have sliding scale fees. Your insurance may only cover 4-5 visits to an analyst.

  • Since psycho-analysis and psychotherapy both use the term "psyche" (Greek=soul) what do you, yourself mean by that word, soul, and therefore, what do you want for its care? For instance, generally, "soul" is taken to mean mental and emotional patterns of speaking, thinking, feeling and acting. For Freud it was the Ego and The Id (the unconscious). Psychoanalysis, in its most helpful aspect, should be to reveal unconscious patterns. It is seen as a therapy which has no ending since always more patterns will be revealed. There is a good book called "Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia", by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (who was a psychotherapist) about the pitfalls of the psychoanalytic process. I have also seen zines about the practices of "co-counseling" and its benefits.

  • Finally, if your therapy is covered by insurance, you may become a liability for other insurers at other employers. Insured mental health treatment constitutes a "pre-existing condition" in some programs and you may be denied care in others. Also, employers are now using health records to screen employees, so your mental health treatment may show up with an application for another position. This is a very recent phenomenon where employers don't want employees with a mental health history. Most therapists will say "So What?" and think its better to feel better than worry about your employment future but it is an issue. Anyway...

I would leave a note with the Icarus Project, which is a self-help group & explain to them what you're going through and your internal debate:

http://nycicarus.org/

This was probably too much but I hope it was helpful. My advice: avoid giving your emotional life to state actors whenever possible! Many therapists have a distance from political empathy and err on the side of practicality, which has its merits but isn't very revolutionary. Best of Luck.

2

lookin4 wrote

Wow, thanks so much for this long, detailed answer! I need to read it a few more times to don't miss any detail and understand it fully (because english is not my first language) but I am already amazed.