What is psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis is considered a theory (likefunctionalism,structuralismandhumanism) and atherapeutic methodcreated by the Austrian doctor and neurologistSigmund Freud(1), which deals with theanalysis of the unconsciousof the person to try to understand behaviors, feelings and ways of thinking.

This is how psychoanalysis argues, that psychological disordersarise as a result of the incorrect manifestationof defense mechanisms to resolve mental conflicts.

In this sense, the psychoanalyst uses strategies such as free association(2) and the interpretation of dreams(3) in the patient, in order to access the contents of the unconscious where they are stored and understand them.

Note: For Freud’s psychoanalysis, the unconscious of the human being is his object of study and his purpose isto investigate and study the soul of the human being, whilecognitivismfocuses on cognitive processes.

How does psychoanalysis work?

Sigmund Freud explains in his “Theory of Psychoanalysis”(4), how this therapeutic method worksthat we describe below:

1. Analyze people’s unconscious

Through this therapy, it is intended to discover those behaviors that have been repressedand that thanks to the defense mechanism that the human mind has, are hidden in the unconscious but that are still latent in the patient’s psyche.

To highlight: Psychoanalysis treats pathologies such as anxiety , depression , post-traumatic stress, personality disorders , phobias, among others.

2. Helps understand internal conflicts

In the analysis process, applying free association or the interpretation of dreams, the patient gradually becomes aware of what or what internal conflicts are disturbing his inner peace through his own awareness , helping to understand them and facilitating their resolution.

Important: At this point, the therapist, with professional skill, guides the patient so that he discovers for himself what the causes of his psychological disorders are.

3. Make repressed traumas, feelings and thoughts visible

We have already mentioned that the subconscious is the warehouse of everything that affects us emotionally and that it is kept there so that it does not disturb our psychological peace, but inevitably these traumas, feelings and repressed thoughts at some point manifest without any control, arising the Conduct disorders .

You should know: Psychoanalytic therapy makes all these internal conflicts externalize, helping the patient to be aware of what is happening to him.

What are the principles of psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis is based on some conceptualizations, which serve as a basis for its proposals and which we will mention below:

1. Unconscious

The study of psychoanalysis starts from the unconscious, which is made up of rational, emotional elements, impulses and concrete desires that remain repressed and that fight to get out, also have a problematic meaning for the mind of the individual. (5)

Note: The unconscious contains impulses and desiresthat struggle to get out, but whose exit could constitute a source of anguish for the individual. For Freud, the unconscious of the human being represents thethat fight to get out, but whose output could be a source of anxiety for the individual. For Freud, the unconscious of the human being represents theIT “ in his second topic Of him.

2. Instincts

For psychoanalysis, instinct denotes a type of behavior more typical of animals than of man and refers to the innate and specific appetites or common to all individuals of a species,  whose development and objective are considered as preformed, fixed and stable. (6)

To highlight: These instincts of the human being, for Freud are those of conservation of the species and the sexual instinct.

3. Psychosexual development

Among the premises of psychoanalysis, it is stated that sexuality appears from the birth of the human being and during the successive stages of childhood “different body areas provide special gratifications to the individual, since they are endowed with an energy that seeks pleasure, libido” . (7)

4. Transfer

Transference within psychoanalysis refers to the phenomenon in which the patient unconsciously projects onto his therapist the feelings, experiences and emotions that he has accumulated during childhood.

You should know: At this point, The Individual Revives in his new ties to another person, in this case his therapist, his old feelings, affections, expectations orchildhood desires that have been repressed. (8)

5. Free association

This technique is based on motivating the patient, so that he expresses everything that comes to his mind at the time of the session with the therapist, trying not to intervene in terms of value judgments between what he thinks and what he ends up sharing.

In this sense, the role of the therapist is rather aimed at encouraging the patient to feel comfortable when expressing himself,   he is asked to ignore any censorship and to express any idea that occurs to him, no matter how insignificant it may be.

Important: It is very important to Avoidany type of interruptionwhile the patient is expressing their ideas, to achieve a complete connection with the therapist.

How is psychoanalysis therapy performed?

Psychoanalytic treatment Can be developed in a general way as follows:

  • The therapist places the patient in context, and they talk about What is expected of the therapytag. At this point, the analysttries to find a connection with the patient that allows him to maintain an adequate channel of communication.
  • Next, the analyst explains about his health condition and the possible causes at a psychological levelthat may be affecting his emotional stability. This is to try to make the patient aware thatthe origin of his problems do not come from the outside but from his mind.
  • Nextit applies the appropriate intervention strategy to the patient’s pathology and periodically performs evaluations to verify the progress and make the necessary corrective measures until the patient recovers.

Key Conclusions

  • Psychoanalysis is a theory and a therapeutic method that deals with the analysis of the unconscious.
  • Psychoanalysis argues that psychological disorders arise as a result of the incorrect manifestation of the defense mechanisms of the unconscious.
  • In psychoanalysis, the unconscious of the human being is its object of study.
  • The purpose of psychoanalysis is to investigate and study the soul of the human being.

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