In this article you will find a practical explanation of psychoanalysis. After reading, you will understand the basics of this powerful psychology tool.
What is Psychoanalysis?
Psychoanalysis is a method of treating various mental disorders. Psychoanalysis is formed by the theory of psychoanalysis, which focuses on the unconscious mind; unconscious mental processes. Psychoanalysis or the use of these techniques is sometimes described as depth psychology.
Psychoanalysis and its associated methods are often the subject of discussion. It is a controversial discipline, the validity and effectiveness of which are highly controversial. Nevertheless, the method has a relatively strong influence within psychiatry.
Psychoanalysis and the psychoanalysis movement originated during the clinical studies and observations of the Austrian Sigmund Freud. It is also Freud who coined and introduced the term psychoanalysis. Around the end of the nineteenth century, Freud worked with Josef Breuer, physician and physiologist. At the time, they were researching patients under hypnosis and the way ideas and impulses functioned during a hypnotic state.
The most controversial work of Sigmund Freud is the theory of the psychosexual stages. This theory, like Erik Erikson’s psychosocial theory, is a development theory. Another well-known work by Freud is the book ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’, in which he discusses dream interpretations, which became the basis of his later theory of the Oedipus complex.
Psychoanalysis is defined as a set of psychological theories and therapeutic techniques that arise from the work of Freud and his colleagues. The core of psychoanalysis is the belief that all people have unconscious thoughts, desires, memories, and feelings. Psychoanalysis is about helping you deal with this emotional baggage. The focus is on talking freely about experiences and feelings.
Influences Freud and psychoanalysis
Alfred Adler, a colleague of Sigmund Freud, helped establish psychoanalysis and was one of the founders of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. Adler focused his theory on the individual as a whole. This is why he called it individual psychology.
Freud hypothesized that personality begins to develop during the early years of life and that the way parents interact with their children can influence the emotional state of children and later adults. Only recently was it described that certain events and experiences in childhood do not always result in damage to mental health or stimulate certain personality traits.
Karen Horney developed a theory of neuroses, based partially on the work of Sigmund Freud. However, she rejected various ideas, declaring parts of his work inaccurate and demeaning to women because of the described role of woman in society and evolution.
Freud’s sixth daughter, Anna Freud, followed in her father’s footsteps after his death and was also valuable for psychoanalysis.
Is behavioral therapy different from psychoanalysis?
Behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a newer form of psychotherapeutic methods. Unlike psychoanalysis, behavioral therapy cannot solve deeper problems or traumas. Nevertheless, it is considered an effective way to treat a long list of mental illnesses.
Unlike traditional psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on immediate problem solving and change in behaviors. An average behavior therapy session usually lasts at least 20 minutes.
How long does psychoanalysis take?
Progress takes a lot of time in many cases. How long it takes before positive developments are noticed varies from patient to patient. The problem isn’t that psychoanalysis and psychotherapy take time, it’s that many patients are focused on relief and results. The hard work that goes into this is the most important.
The focus of Freudian therapy is traumatic problems. Traumatic problems, without exception, take longer than behavioral problems or other problems. In complex cases, involving unresolved trauma, it is important to first build trust and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
Group therapy can also be an opening before more confrontational techniques are applied. Irwin warned that if people are suicidal or drunk, they are not ready for 1-on-1 therapy.
Consider the following example. A healthy, strong twenty-five year old has a nice job and just bought a house. Everything seems to be going well, but the person has a seemingly irrational fear of rats. The fear of these beasts makes the person shiver at seeing a mouse or rat, but also nightmares and panic attacks take place. This fear hinders the person in life to some extent.
Psychoanalysis shows that the person was bitten by a large rat at a very young age. The wound bled and eventually led to an infection that required treatment. An incident that had taken place 2 decades earlier appears to still have a strong influence. Several sessions made the patient see that it was just a past experience and that the patient is now strong enough to take care of himself.
ID, Ego and Superego
Sigmund Freud’s most popular work deals with the human psyche. He believed that the psyche consists of more than one aspect. He structured the psyche into three parts: the ID, ego, and superego. These all develop at different stages of life. The three aspects should not be confused with parts or other physical objects.
The ID, according to Freud, is the primitive and instinctive part of the brain. This part is responsible for storing sexual and aggressive urges, as well as hidden memories. The superego acts as a moral compass and the ego is the realistic part that mediates between the desires of the ID and the superego.
Freud and religion
Freud believed that people rely on religion to explain fears, tensions, and vital questions of life. Freud even stated that mankind created God itself, in their own image. The role of the mind is something that was often discussed by Freud. He believed that the mind is responsible for both conscious and unconscious decisions. This decision would be based on motives and forces.
The idea that religion causes people to behave morally has been pushed aside by Freud. He believed that no other force affected the way people act. He believed that people behave in a way that suits the group they belong to.
According to Freud, groups are necessary to reduce narcissism in people. This can be achieved by developing bonds with others and putting everyone on an equal level. The commonality that arises between people in groups enables people to identify with each other.
Psychoanalysis is a method for the diagnosis and treatment of various psychological problems. Psychoanalysis focuses on the unconscious mind. Psychoanalysis is more thorough than, for example, behavioral therapy, so it can take longer for a patient to notice improvement.
The founder of psychoanalysis as it is known today is Sigmund Freud. The Austrian researcher is known for his controversial theories and ideas and is often the center of discussion.
At the heart of psychoanalysis is Freud’s belief that all people have unconscious thoughts, desires, and feelings. Psychoanalysis helps people deal with this emotional baggage. The focus in these types of sessions is on talking freely about experiences and feelings.
Psychoanalysis is a psychotherapeutic method, just like behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. The difference between the two is that psychoanalysis can delve deeper into traumatic problems. Psychoanalysis takes significantly more time and sessions to make noticeable progress.
Now it’s your turn
What do you think? Do you recognize the explanation about psychoanalysis? Do you have experience with a therapy based on Freud’s studies? How do you deal with traumatic events? Do you think therapy is always necessary for a traumatic event? Do you have other tips or comments?
Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.
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- Erdelyi, M. H. (1985). Psychoanalysis: Freud’s cognitive psychology. WH Freeman/Times Books/Henry Holt & Co.
- Freud, S., & Bonaparte, P. M. (1954). The origins of psychoanalysis (Vol. 216). London: Imago..
- Jung, C. G. (2015). Freud and Psychoanalysis, Vol. 4. Routledge.
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