Frequently Asked Questions

If I feel sad, could that mean that I have a depression?

Sadness is not a diagnostic category but rather a symptom of something, and it may have causes that are relatively easy to understand and treat, or causes that are more laboriously understood and treated. The word depression is often synonymous, for the layperson with an ominous diagnostic category. This is a common mistake.

How can talking about myself and about my problems help me?

All psychotherapies are first and foremost a human relationship. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is also a place for exploring and investigating as well as for giving treatment. A therapeutic relationship is put to the service of discovering the resources and difficulties of the patient, enhancing the former and identifying and working through the latter. The dialogue in the therapeutic relationship aids the patient in self-discovery and in the process of emotionally and mentally maturing.

Who seeks help from a psychotherapist or psychoanalyst?

That individual - male or female - who is, unaided, unable to understand and to feel relief from his/her suffering, and would like to be helped. Receiving help, when it is needed, is beneficial to the very process of maturing, and indeed promotes that process.

What is the difference between the help a psychiatrist gives and the help received from a psychotherapist?

Classical psychiatry considers that internal and interpersonal conflicts can and should be treated by influencing brain chemistry through the use of sophisticated psychiatric drugs that can help us feel calmer and more stable. Making changes to our brain chemistry is used to treat the symptoms that the psychiatric patient reports. A psychiatrist is a physician and has specialized in psychiatry. The psychotherapist treats his/her patients through therapy, which is a relationship that is created in order to treat the internal and/or interpersonal conflicts that the patient presents. The psychotherapist has taken his/her degrees in psychology, specializing in clinical psychology, and the psychologist who conducts therapies has received extensive post-graduate training in performing psychotherapy.

What are the credentials and the training that my psychotherapist or psychoanalyst should have in Spain?

Your specialist must have satisfied the university requirements that the local licensure board requires and recognizes, and be licensed by this board. He/she must be well integrated in his/her local professional community as this is a condition sine qua non for the kind of infrastructure that is best suited to support serious therapeutic work. In addition, extended and rigorous training from recognized post-graduate centers in psychotherapy must be successfully completed by your practitioner if he/she conducts therapies. Your practitioner must have been treated over an extended period of time as a patient by a mental health professional specifically trained to treat mental health practitioners by a recognized professional association. If this practitioner practices psychoanalysis an even more specific and specialized post-graduate training is necessary.

What are mixed treatments?

Some patients with very specific personality characteristics are better helped when treated simultaneously by a psychotherapist and a psychiatrist. In these cases both of these professionals join together to form a therapeutic team for the patient. Sometimes a patient who is treated by a psychotherapist will require medication momentarily. A mixed treatment refers to receiving both psychotherapy from a psychotherapist and psychiatric medication from a psychiatrist.

Why is psychiatric medication usually not enough?

Skillfully and conservatively prescribed medication is often very valuable for controlling symptoms to provide relief, but is only a symptomatic treatment. It is sometimes misrepresented as being more than symptomatic treatment.