Psychoanalysis FAQs

What is psychoanalytic treatment like today?

Individuals with little previous knowledge of psychoanalysis sometimes form a negative view of the field based on movie and television depictions that show patients in endless analysis on the couch with near-silent or even untrustworthy analysts. In addition, people often dismiss psychoanalysis with comments such as “I don’t want to dwell on the past,” “I shouldn’t blame everything on my parents,” or “Therapy is too indulgent.”

Contemporary psychoanalysis has a different look and feel at the Institute. Clinicians often work with patients sitting up instead of on the couch, and treatment may feel like a conversation with a trusted friend. Engaging in the process of analytic treatment can free you from entanglements with the past that may be affecting current relationships, help you become more independent and self-aware, and expand your life choices.

What types of problems can be treated?

A wide range of issues may be treated in psychoanalysis. These include:

  • Distressing emotions, such as anxiety and depression
  • Inhibitions
  • Interpersonal difficulties
  • Family problems
  • Work productivity and creativity
  • Self-defeating patterns
  • Life transition and identity concerns

Patients with mental health concerns that are not easily categorized are assessed during an initial consultation.

How does it work?

Psychoanalysis has been described as a type of learning laboratory in which the analyst helps the patient step back and look at his or her inner world as it impacts on everyday problems at home and in the workplace. How the patient experiences the analyst and behaves in the session can often provide a lens through which learning takes place. Meeting at least three times per week allows patients to engage in an in-depth and consistent exploration of aspects of themselves.

Who could benefit from an analysis?

People from all walks of life who are experiencing a broad range of problems. Among those who often find psychoanalysis helpful are:

  • Individuals who want to change aspects of their personality and their inner experiences.
  • Mental health professionals and people facing the challenges of the interpersonal needs of others (workers in human resources, education, management) who can apply the knowledge gained in their personal analysis to their interactions in the workplace.
  • Parents who wish to reshape their old family maladaptive patterns into new, healthier ways of relating.

Ultimately, the answer to whether analysis is appropriate for you can only be determined by an individual consultation.

Who are the WAWI psychoanalysts?

The Institute offers two options for psychoanalysis:

  • Many patients work with a psychoanalyst-in-training under supervision of the Institute’s faculty at our low-fee clinic. Many psychoanalysts-in-training are experienced New York State licensed psychotherapists with psychiatry, psychology or social work degrees who are continuing their education in the Institute’s highly selective training program. Many also maintain private practices.
  • Patients seeking treatment through the Institute may also request a referral to a senior psychoanalyst who will charge a fee that is competitive with other New York City private practices.
How can I afford psychoanalysis?

For over 75 years, the Institute has maintained a commitment to making psychoanalysis affordable. Insurance often offers only minimal coverage; however, our staff can work with you to arrange an out-of-pocket fee that supplements any benefit you receive from your provider. Please note that patients are not required to have insurance for low-cost treatment in our Clinical Services. Also note that we do not accept Medicare or Medicaid.

How do I start the process?

Please complete the clinic application online or download a copy and send it to the WAWI Clinical Services, 20 West 74th Street, New York, NY 10023. Once we receive your application we will contact you within a week. Please note that privacy and confidentiality are a primary concern at the Institute. For more information, you may also call or email the clinic administrator, Ms. Leila Sosa, at (212) 873-7070 or If you have any special concerns and questions, please feel free to contact the Director of Clinical Services, Stacey Nathan-Virga, Ph.D., at

William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology 20 West 74th Street, New York, NY 10023 | (212) 873-0725