Astrid Zeceña, CV
Psychoanalytic psychotherapist, London
M.A. Psychoanalysis & Contemporary Society, Brunel University, London 2007
Psychology degree, UANE, Mexico, 2005
Psychoanalytic Formation, CFAR, London 2008-2020 (paused for now)
As a young woman, psychoanalytic ideas had always been intriguing and interesting as they have been a little scary to me. Yet, I initially came in contact with Psychoanalysis out of personal necessity as well as a profound curiosity. During this personal process, the wish to become a psychoanalyst myself, became prominent. My Psychoanalytic Formation at the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research (CFAR) in London, has been preceded not only by studies but most importantly, by work with a wide variety of people in contrasting environments and roles. I have worked individually and in groups with young children, their parents, with adolescents and adults; privately and in institutions for over 15 years. (I only work privately on a one-to-one basis at present).
The predominantly work in London privately in my Bloomsbury consulting room and currently online and on the phone.
The work I did before this was on an honorary basis at MIND Westminster with men and women. Difficulties treated have involved obsessive thought, marital or sexual problems, work-related troubles. Sometimes these issues went away quickly, as a man said: ‘I came here to treat my depression and inability to have sex with my wife and have ended up speaking so much about my father’. Many men have been surprised of how much they actually like speaking even if on a day-to-day reality they believed: ‘I thought I hated talking to other people, never enjoyed sharing my feelings with others’, as one of them recounted.
Work in therapy for some men has involved talking of the questions and worries they have in relation to their wives or close relatives. They feel preoccupied with their own depression, that of ‘feeling shut-down’ or in constant mood swings and genuinely want to be able to understand what goes on. However, there has also been the worry of what others in their family go through, as one of my patients stated ‘I would do anything for my sister, anything she needs, she can have from me; I just want her to get better’.
Work with women comprised elaboration around change, some of them suffering from depression, a recent loss or even a new gain which had impacted them greatly. For example, becoming a mother: as a woman put it ‘I cannot understand why I feel low like this if I just got (the baby) what I have always dreamt of!’ Or as another patient said ‘I have always surrounded myself with children, other people’s children, but only realised I wanted to be a mum until I spoke of all this here with you’.
In Mexico, my first formal work within the psychotherapy realm was with a group of girls who had been living in an incestuous situation, some of them were pregnant. A fruitful group therapy was conducted in weekly sessions where profound questions on the ambivalence in love and broken trust were raised as well and perhaps more importantly, the power and hope emergent within maternal desire and love.
It could be said that the above mentioned memorable work with these girls initiated me in the arduous and fulfilling work that has continued to shape itself through my path as a psychoanalyst. It was followed by work with primary school children suffering a range of psychosomatic problems (i.e. vitiligo,anorexia, sleeping disorders) triggered by separation anxiety, for example after a divorce or a death in the family. As a natural progression, working in individual therapy with adolescents was my main activity as a young Psychology student in Mexico.
Supporting children with Autism/Aspergers or other emotional needs at the International Community School in Central London was part of my day job for over seven years until end of 2015. Emotional change may arise in children when something that needs symbolisation emerges in their life i.e. a new sibling is born, starting school, nightmares appear, a family support changes or is gone; all of this can be treated through the work I do as a psychoanalyst.
My work as a psychoanalyst is significantly linked to my personal analyses (yes, in the plural form- four so far) as well as the theoretical study of psychoanalytic literature, starting with Freud and continuing with the work of French (and polemic!) psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan who further developed the great Freudian discovery and delicate practice of the psychoanalytic method. I am enormously thankful to Darian Leader, whose teachings have made the Lacanian theory & technique accessible as well as vibrant & alive in today’s world and for me personally. (If you have watched ‘20,000 Days on Earth’, then you know Darian is the brilliant psychoanalyst visited by Nick Cave on this fabulous one-of-a-kind documentary film- but you may also know him from elsewhere e.g. his books, talks, etc.)
Practitioners of Psychoanalysis know that their person is at stake in the work they do collaboratively with their patients/analysands. And this personal work the analyst does is in fact, a continuing process rather than a training or degree that starts and ends during a predetermined and fixed period of time. Each analyst takes as long as they need to in order to complete an analysis and will most probably undergo several analyses in their lives. This is the reason why anyone who wants to practice as a psychoanalyst, must firstly go themselves through this and undertake their own analysis. It is hopefully less to do with learning formulas or set ways of working, rather with gradually discovering the analyst’s own history- and prehistory- as well as their most intimate formulas precisely so not to impose them back on their patients. So that the analyst is not on the way of the patient’s work. Given the nature of each subjectivity, every analysis is different and involves diversity in their length and duration, including that of the sessions in themselves (at least in the Lacanian tradition where it is not only significant to respect this but perhaps even to highlight it!) Subjectivity is at the core of my practice as is in the Freudian and Lacanian Psychoanalytic traditions as I understand them.
My private practice is currently based in London, Bloomsbury area a stone’s throw from the British Museum and the nearest tube stations are Holborn & Tottenham Court Road in Central London. I mainly work with adults on an individual basis. And just as a curious fact, my previous consulting room used to be a few meters from Freud’s very first address in London on 39 Elsworthy Road.
I also conduct online sessions on Zoom & Skype, and phone sessions as that is increasingly required. (Currently this is the only mode of work I conduct).