Our expert says:
One thing I am clear about with regard to all forms of therapy, psychotherapy or medication, is that it shouldn't be provided routinely ( in the sense of giving the same recipe to everyone with the same sort of problem ) and that it should be based on a definite and clear diagnosis made according to generally accepted guidelines or criteria, and should be directed towards particular, clear goals, rather than being an end in itself.
What you describe doesn't sound like orthodox psychoanalysis which, though it has many different varieties is more formal and structured and demanding than what you describe. And the usual form of sessions, the theories underlying the assumptions and questions and methods, vary in each variant. What you describe, though, seems to include some of the broad principles which arise from psychoanalysis ( such as the interest in dreams and the free association type of "talk about whatever comes into your mind" session.
The absence of any sense of mind games is good. The problem with the sort of cases you mention of breach of boundaries is that when by definition people who visit a shrink are troubled and unhappy and vulnerable, for the "therapist" ( of whatever theoretical background or style ) who takes advantage of such vulnerability for his or her own benefits and purposes is, understandably, consider highly improper. Its like an ambulance-man picking the pockets of someone on the way to the hospital.
I'm not sure that men sticking to male therapists and women to women necessarily avoids such problems, though it might lessen the risk.
But the majority of therapists, of all stripes, are sincere and well-intentioned, though they may vary in how effective their chosen method has the potential of being, and in how good they are at applying that method. What is important, though not always easy to arrange, and not often discused, is to seek a good "fit" between parient and therapist - that you feel understood and understand what he/she is saying, rather than feeling uncomfortable and worried in their presence.
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