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What is Psychoanalysis?

Utilizing a psychoanalysis approach is crucial to understanding your unconscious processes and finding solutions for underlying mental health issues.

What is Psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis isn't always a cure for various mental health problems, but instead a method of unearthing underlying issues in order to treat them. By discovering these root causes, patients are more adequately equipped with how to deal with symptoms and repercussions.

Modern psychoanalysis falls under the branch of psychotherapy and helps dig deeper into hidden or unconscious mental processes that determine your thoughts, feelings, or actions. Once you identify these issues, you are in a better space to tackle any physical, mental, emotional, or psychological problems you may be having. Identifying the problem allows you to trace the source of your problem while showing your current situation.

Scope of Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis has greatly affected society ever since its inception. Some mental health providers use psychoanalysis as a viable mental health treatment method as well. It has many other uses as well, including its ability to help relieve mental health symptoms, enable patients to have a greater self-awareness in decisions and actions, and allow patients to have enough scope to face their problems. 

Psychologists cannot prescribe medication, but instead use various therapeutic techniques to treat mental health problems in patients. 

History of Psychoanalysis

The history of psychoanalysis dates back to the 1890s under Sigmund Freud's theory. The goal of Freudian psychoanalysis is to bring the subconscious or the unconscious mind more to the forefront. Psychologists still utilize some of Freud’s teachings to this day, although many of them have become too outdated to use in practice.1

Components of Psychoanalysis

The goal of psychoanalysis is to understand your innermost feelings and thoughts using various psychoanalytic techniques. However, the four primary components of Freudian psychoanalysis that comprise modern psychoanalysis include:

Interpretation Psychoanalysis

During interpretation, analysts conduct an analysis by conversing with patients verbally. The analyst develops a hypothesis concerning the patient's unconscious thoughts. The psychoanalyst then helps the patient see any defense mechanism they have, why the mechanism developed, and the patient's motivation to adapt. 2 

Stages of Interpretation

You can classify interpretation as a few stages:

  • Clarification, where the analyst clarifies what happens in the patient's unconscious mind.
  • Confrontation, where the patient becomes aware of their non-verbal behavior.
  • Interpretation proper, where the analyst has an overall analysis of the patient's behavior.

Transference Analysis

Transference means the unconscious, non-verbal, and verbal repetition of the patient's behaviors. Transference analysis is a crucial step in psychoanalysis because it is the primary change driver in mental health treatment.

The analyst identifies the client's communication and explains why the client behaves the way they do. This explanation becomes the basics of psychoanalysis and the foundation of the patient's recovery, behavior, or character change.

Technical Neutrality

Technical neutrality is an aspect that demands analysts to remain neutral to their clients, that they do not impose their values, and avoid taking sides with their clients. Analysts should also serve as a mirror where clients can see their behaviors, assumptions, and characteristics so that clients understand themselves better.

Countertransference Analysis

Countertransference is the reactions of analysts and what clients bring to a session. Analysts view their clients objectively and understand the transference between their experience and the client.

Psychoanalytic Techniques

People attending psychoanalysis meet with therapists generally once every week or two. In many cases, these appointments may last months or years. Some common psychoanalysis treatment techniques include:

  • The Dream Analysis: According to Freud, dream analysis is a highway to the unconscious mind. Interpreting dreams may help you know how your unconscious mind-functions.
  • Free Association: This enables you to talk about your thoughts freely.
  • Freudian Slips: These consist of mental mistakes linked to your unconscious mind. 3
  • Lacanian Psychoanalysis: This helps you to deconstruct any narcissistic image you have of yourself. 4
  • Transference Psychoanalysis: Here, you speak to your psychoanalyst as if they were another person to show how you relate with others.
  • Psychoanalysis Defense Mechanisms: These are techniques you use to protect yourself from discomfort.

Psychoanalysis Fundamentals

A psychoanalytic theory uses the following fundamentals of psychoanalysis: 5

  • Id Principle: According to Freud, the id holds urges and desires, primarily aggressive and sexual desires. However, this interpretation has been met with resistance in psychoanalysis from various psychoanalysis theorists.
  • Superego: This is your higher moral code, including decision-making, self-control, sacrifice, and other abilities that enable you to live well with colleagues.
  • Ego: The ego resolves and balances conflicts between the id and the superego. It represents your identity, conscious decision-making, and reality. 
  • Conscious vs. unconscious mind: The conscious mind consists of every memory, thought, cognition, or feeling we acknowledge, while the unconscious mind holds deeper mental processes hidden from the conscious mind.

What Does a Psychoanalyst Do?

Psychoanalysts use their preferred psychoanalytic theory to:

  • Meet with patients individually
  • Encourage patients to become self-aware of their emotional states
  • Holds sessions with patients weekly or biweekly
  • Maintain patient confidentiality
  • Help patients know the subconscious factors influencing their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors
  • Keep detailed notes of every psychoanalytic session
  • Reduce symptoms while giving lasting improvements

Psychoanalysis Effectiveness

A psychoanalytic theory is important for everyday healing and influences mental illness recovery. Psychoanalysis is effective for mental health issues in the following ways:

  • Psychoanalysis gets to the basic cause of the problem rather than simply addressing its symptoms.
  • People who don't respond to conventional therapy or medications sometimes respond to psychoanalysis.
  • It provides in-depth insight into the origins of certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Find Out More About Psychoanalysis at Anew Treatment Center

Psychoanalytic theorists brought significant and lasting impacts to the fields of psychology and psychoanalysis. Learn more about these theories at Anew Treatment Center, along with the history of psychoanalysis, psychoanalysis tools, and more. Though this can be a long process, our analysts are prepared to walk with you and develop proper treatment plans for mental health conditions. 

Contact us today if you or a loved one is ready to begin utilizing psychoanalysis as a way of recovering from a co-occurring disorder, or to help get to the root of any underlying trauma.

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