Psychoanalysis is an intensive form of treatment for psychological problems, problems which frequently prevent people from living a full and happy life. An exploratory process, psychoanalysis uses analytic theory to understand human nature, development, and behavior, while also respecting each person’s unique experience. In psychoanalytic treatment, patients lie on a couch while the analyst sits behind them. This structure allows patients to express their thoughts and feelings with more freedom. Patients typically meet three to five sessions a week. During sessions patients work towards problem resolution by speaking about what comes to mind, expressing feelings, participating in dream analysis, and through the relationship with the analyst. While in treatment patients often notice a reduction in symptoms. This indicates progess and is an important aspect of the therapeutic work. However, in psychoanalysis the patient and analyst continue the analysis in order to understand the symptom’s underlying precipitants and meaning. This understanding can lead to lasting psychological growth.
Psychoanalysis is an effective treatment for people who are seeking long lasting problem resolution and change. It is well suited for individuals who want to understand and work through the origins of their difficulties. Analysts help people with many issues including depression, anxiety, trauma, and relationship struggles. For a more inclusive list and more about my approach, please see the About Me page.
BRIEF HISTORY OF PSYCHOANALYSIS
Psychoanalysis was developed in the 1890s by Austrian physician Sigmund Freud, Since then, the field has been influenced and advanced by many renowned physicians and researchers including Charles Brenner, Heinz Kohut, Hans Loewald, Otto Kernberg, Andre Green, Thomas Ogden, Jessica Benjamin, and many more. The American Psychoanalytic Association provides many resources about psychoanalysis. According to the American Psychoanalytic Association: “As a general theory of individual human behavior and experience, psychoanalytic ideas enrich and are enriched by the study of the biological and social sciences, group behavior, history, philosophy, art, and literature. Through its examination of the complex relationship between body and mind, psychoanalysis also furthers our understanding of the role of emotions in health as well as in medical illness.” The psychoanalytic framework stresses the importance of understanding:
- that each individual is unique
- that there are factors outside of a person’s awareness (unconscious thoughts, feelings and experiences) which influence his or her thoughts and actions
- that the past shapes the present
- that human beings are always engaged in the process of development throughout their lives
APsaA’s publication About Psychoanalysis is a valuable reference tool.