F, psychoanalyst, interviewed by Anne Grete Hersoug
F has completed his psycho-analytic training and has a fulltime practice as a psychotherapist in a German city, with many different kinds of patients in depth-oriented therapy. Between the intensive processes with his patients, he sometimes needs to relax. What does he do then?
Deep mental relaxation
“I had some experience with Vipassana meditation, and had also learnt autogenic training, which I practiced for a while – although not regularly. It gave me bodily relaxation, but with a tight schedule and many patients every day, I felt an increasing need for deep mental relaxation. I was looking for a suitable method and decided to try Acem Meditation. I found that the free mental attitude suits me much better than the concentrative approach of the two other methods.”
Working through emotions
F has been meditating for three years now and appreciates that meditation helps me when he needs thorough mental relaxation after a therapy session. An extra bonus is that it has a positive effect on the blood pressure, which is relevant for him.
“In my everyday life as a psychotherapist, I often work with strong emotions. I am frequently the target of patients’ projections, and such processes may become quite intensive. In order to continue to do a job as a therapist in the next session, deep mental relaxation is particularly important. Meditation has such an effect after only short time – 15-20 minutes is usually enough to make a significant difference.”
More present with patients
“This kind of relaxation means a lot to me. I try to fit in a break for meditation every day in the afternoon. The advantage of having my own office is that it is easy to do that. My head becomes clearer and I am more mentally present before the next patient comes. At the end of my working day I usually leave behind what has happened during the sessions. Some days it is more difficult not to bring home undigested residue, but meditation is a great help. At home, I try to start every day with 45 minutes of meditation, and do some yoga exercises when I have time.”
A personal experience
We meet F at his second deepening retreat at Halvorsbøle. What brings him back for another deepening experience?
“I like to go deeper into the meditation process, and here we start every day with a focus on intensive meditations. At this kind of retreat there is a special atmosphere. I have a different experience this time: it feels easier in comparison to the first time, which was heavier.
“In my psychoanalytic training there was an emphasis on the personal experience of the training analysis. Acem Meditation is something quite different, but also gives some kind of deeply personal experience, nonverbally, which is a valuable approach. I have noticed that things have changed in my life after I learned meditation. It isn’t easy to know exactly what comes from meditation, since it cannot be observed directly, but I find myself reflecting about this, in order to sort it out.”
More on deepening retreats in Acem.
Copy editor: Ann Kunish