Lying on a couch in a psychoanalysts office is not something I had ever really thought about. However when you consider the significance of being treat in such a way it is interesting.
When we lay on a couch, or the treatment trolley, of any health care professional it may be significant or not. Sometimes, as with physiotherapy or a chiropractor, it can just be the best way for treatment to be given and received. Personally I imagine the significance of laying on a couch in a psychoanalysts office can be a combination of factors.
For a patient to open up fully about their experiences and [personal life, and for psychoanalysis to be beneficial, the patient needs to be relaxed and comfortable. A couch is ideal for this. Sitting in a chair opposite someone can be daunting. If that person is asking you questions, it can almost feel like an interview, where you have to give the correct answers or else fail. You would also have to look your analyst in the eye and this could make you feel very vulnerable and your analyst seem more of a person than a faceless analyst.
A couch is so alien to many situations it helps the psychoanalysis feel totally different, less stressful and less hurried. Laying down gives you a timeless feel, as if there is no hurry or sense of urgency. It enables you to drift off and almost forget that there is someone else with room. It can make you forget the purpose of the meeting and so feel more comfortable with the situation.
Laying in this position can initially leave you feeling vulnerable . However as your faith and trust , in the psychoanalyst ,grows so should your confidence . Laying down is almost as if you are surrendering for your treatment and accepting it .
When we lay down inevitably our pulse slows down and our blood pressure settles. All of this can be conducive to rational thinking processes and relaxation. As we begin to feel at ease with our surroundings it often becomes much easier to express ourselves in a calm manner. As I have already said the fact that you will probably not be able to make easy eye contact with the psychoanalyst, can make you almost forget he or she is there. It may almost start to feel as if you are talking your issues through out loud, with yourself and in many ways that is not a bad thing. After all ultimately it will be you that has to tackle your problems.
When we discuss our problems , fears , insecurities or troubled lives it can be very stressful and upsetting . It is never easy facing our demons . The calmer and more relaxing the experience can be , has to make for a better outcome .