The technology in my pocket does a pretty good job of helping me to keep my life in order. I've got instant access to my contacts, my emails, and my calendar. I can ask Siri to update my to-do list or find to out what the capital of Louisiana is (Baton Rouge). I've got apps for Facebook and Twitter, reminders of who to say happy birthday to, and even a daily ping to remind me to stop and meditate for fifteen minutes. But among all that mindboggling usability, there's nothing on that smartphone that helps me work out who I really am, why I'm here, and how I can best live my life. When it comes to the psyche, there's no app for that.
The "psyche" is often understood to be "the soul" - but more broadly it can be described as the entirety of who you are. Getting a sense of your psyche is more difficult than it sounds. In our modern word of "always on", especially through our ubiquitous social networks, we get used to a version of ourselves - the one we present to others. However, there's more to us than that, and we ignore it at our peril.
In today's results driven, evidenced based, now-now-now culture, the idea of a 'slow burn' psychotherapy is much maligned. If people have problems, they want them fixed, if people have questions, they want them answered. But what about those problems you can't quite put your finger on? What about those questions that aren't answered so simply. What if you have reached a point where you don't want life to be a repetitive journey of work, home, and holiday? What's it really all about for you?
One of the consequences of our over-busy culture is that we forget to ask these questions, and when we do, we may wake up each morning with a dull sort of an ache - something is missing, but we don't quite know what it is. It's only when people feel like they're really hitting a wall that they might seek the support of a psychotherapist or counsellor. Because we're conditioned to fix things that are broken, when we don't feel broken we don't even think about getting fixed. However, psychotherapy isn't just about "preventative care" and treating disorders it's also about finding out what your life is really about.
While things have moved on a long way since Freud, engaging in "depth psychotherapy" can still be very beneficial. It's a space to explore your life and personality with another person who is seriously trained to enable your psychological growth; it is a chance to find out what you're really about. Sure, you're likely to encounter some of your demons, but by knowing them, you make better choices in your life; psychotherapy also helps you identify your strengths.
And not having the time is no longer an excuse. More and more organisations like Stillpoint Spaces (recently opened in Berlin and shortly coming to London) offer a real-world place to meet your therapist, as well as a safe and secure video conferencing platform, to speak to them from the comfort of your own home or office. If you want a taster, they also run all sorts of exciting "meet ups" that ask questions about culture in the psychoanalytic way, as well as offer a free 20 minute consultation with a therapist, so you can try before you buy.
Finding the right therapist for yourself is important, and your progress with them will depend a lot on chemistry. If you don't click with the first one you meet or speak to, try someone else. If you're meeting a therapist in the real world, you might want to book a session in with a few different people, so you can get a taste before you decide.
And then you can begin your journey - now, more than ever, we need to access the deeper parts of ourselves, so we can operate better and more authentically in this fast moving world. A depth psychotherapy is a bit like slow food in a fast food culture. Once or twice a week you slow down, chew slowly, and taste all the flavours. It's you're life, as far as we know you've only go the one, so make it count and find out who you are.