Psychoanalytic Consultation and Treatment in Vienna's 8th District

for Individuals and Couples

Special Rates for Students

Irene Lepingwell

Lammgasse 7, 1080 Wien

Tel. 0676/4464243

Professional Education:

1993: Ed. M. in Educational Psychology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

2010: "Magister" degree (M. A.) in Psychotherapy Studies from Sigmund Freud University, Vienna

2011: Graduation certificate from Psychoanalytic Seminar Innsbruck

2014 - 2016: Postgraduate training in Parent-Infant Psychotherapy, Vienna Psychoanalytic Academy
2018: EMDR Training, EMDR Institute Austria

How does it work?

Learning to understand yourself

The term „the talking cure“, coined at the very inception of the psychoanalytic method more than a century ago, is still very suitable. The process is simple: the client mostly talks, and the psychotherapist mostly listens. It is an exchange which defies the rules of the usual conversation: the client is encouraged to say anything that comes to mind, the therapist listens and occasionally comments or asks questions, and together they try to understand hidden meanings and motivations in the client's inner life. When inner conflicts are better understood, they become available for conscious resolution.  In the words of Sigmund Freud, the work of psychoanalysis is making the unconscious conscious.

What about symptoms?

People come to psychotherapy because they experience difficulties in their lives that they are not able to solve by other means. Those may include symptoms like anxieties, difficulties sleeping, inability to concentrate on work or to get along with other people, just to name a few common ones. Clusters of symptoms are given labels called diagnoses - for example, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc. It is important to point out that the psychoanalytic method does not work directly on symptoms: psychoanalysis maintains that our inner life is too complicated to work on problems in isolation; one inevitably finds that everything is connected to everything else. The source of a difficulty in one area of life may lie in another area altogether, which is why we always treat the whole person and do not exclude any aspects of life from discussion in therapy. A symptom is often the only way for an important inner conflict to find expression; learning to understand oneself and to find new solutions to one's difficulties make symptoms recede or disappear, because they are no longer “needed”.

Length of treatment and setting

The psychoanalytic method offers no fast and easy solutions. It takes time, although exactly how much time varies a lot from case to case. Short treatments may be used for some relatively well defined problems, but on the whole one should expect a therapy to last at least a year, and an analysis usually longer.

The current trend is not to tie psychoanalytic work to any particular setting. „Psychoanalytic“ refers to the analytic attitude and not to frequency of sessions or to the use of the couch. The setting is decided upon individually in each case.

The therapeutic relationship

The client and the therapist spend a fair amount of time together doing therapy, so it stands to reason that they should be personally compatible. When deciding on a therapist, ask yourself if you feel comfortable with this person and can learn to trust them with your intimate life details. What is called „the working alliance“ is important for a successful outcome in any therapy, but in psychoanalysis there is one more aspect. A distinguishing feature of psychoanalytic work is that feelings that arise in the process of therapy between the client and the therapist also become a topic of discussion. This is important because the therapeutic relationship, like any human relationship, tends to mirror the typical ways we engage in interactions. Unlike in most everyday interactions, in psychoanalytic therapy these ways can and should be examined. So it really helps if you are able to say to your therapist, for example, that something they do or say makes you uncomfortable. It could be a start to an interesting exploration.

Reading suggestions:

Lichtenberg, J. D. (1985). The Talking Cure: A Descriptive Guide to Psychoanalysis.

Shedler, J. (2005). That was then, this is now: Psychoanalytic psychotherapy for the rest of us.

Shedler, J. (2010). The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. American Psychologist, 65, 98-109.