"Two people getting to know each other and dealing with what comes up along the way" is one of the ways I think about therapy. Some people seek psychotherapy because of an issue that is clearly about one or more relationships. (Examples are a breakup, trouble initiating relationships, or problems with coworkers.) Even if your main concern seems to be just about you (e.g., you are depressed or have low self-esteem), your relationships with others, including me, become an important part of therapy. Do you believe others have the same opinion of you that you do? What you experience as we get to know each other can be much more important than anything I might tell you. If you have trouble trusting people and I earn your trust, you may then be able to trust others. Another part of therapy is looking at beliefs about yourself and the world—some of which you may not be aware of. Examples are that certain things are not possible for you or that it is dangerous to get to know someone well.
Dr. James Goodman, MD is a psychodynamic psychiatry doctor who practices in Albuquerque, NM. He is 65 years old and has been practicing for 38 years.