It is not uncommon for people to ask me why I want to know about their past, especially their childhood. Sometimes people tell me that they don't want to talk about their past because they consider their past to be something that is well and truly over. The truth is the past is always with us in one form or another. Psychologists and psychotherapists (especially those of us who come from a psychoanalytic standpoint) need to get to know who you are and how you got to where you are in your life. This helps the psychologist/psychotherapist to understand you better and better understand how the past might repeat itself in your present life. So when a psychologist and/or psychotherapist asks you about your childhood and other aspects of your past, we are only interested in those aspects of your past that impact your current life. Our early attachment relationships and other significant experiences colour our unconscious thinking and emotional life and therefore have a profound effect on how our life is now. Sometimes this is for better and it helps us to achieve and find success. Other times it plays a significant role in our emotional pain and in our other difficulties. One way we therapists learn about this in psychoanalytic therapy is via what is called the transference. This is the aspect of the therapy in which people relate to their therapist or psychologist in ways that are influenced by past relationships and unconscious parts of the person in treatment. It is often by understanding this better, that it can be possible to allow you to break free of old patterns and have greater choice in life. There many other ways in which psychoanalytic psychotherapy can help, but this is one of the most important ones. The article below from Psychology Today talks more about the impact of childhood and how it impacts the transference. To read it just click the link below.