From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Psychoanalysis is the revelation of unconscious relations, in a systematic way through an associative process. The fundamental subject matter of psychoanalysis is the unconscious patterns of life revealed through the analysand's (the patient's) free associations. The analyst's goal is to help liberate the analysand from unexamined or unconscious barriers of transference and resistance, that is, past patterns of relatedness that are no longer serviceable or that inhibit freedom.

Psychoanalysis was first devised in Vienna in the 1890s by Sigmund Freud, a doctor interested in finding an effective treatment for patients with neurotic or hysterical symptoms As a result of talking with these patients Freud came to believe that their problems stemmed from culturally unacceptable, thus repressed and unconscious desires and fantasies of a sexual nature, and as his theory developed, he included desires and fantasies of an aggressive nature, as well. Freud considered these aspects of life instinctive drives , libidinal energy/Eros and the death instinct/Thanatos. . Freud's description of Eros/Libido included all creative, life-producing instincts. The Death Instinct represented an instinctive drive to return to a state of calm, or non-existence. Since Freud's day psychoanalysis has developed in many ways especially as a study of the personal, inter-personal and intra-subjective sense of self.

The basic method of psychoanalysis is the transference and resistance analysis of free association The patient, in a relaxed posture, is directed to say whatever comes to mind. Dreams hopes, wishes, and fantasies are of interest, as are recollections of early family life. Generally the analyst simply listens, making comments only when, in his or her professional judgment , an opportunity for insight on the part of the patient arises. In listening, the analyst attempts to maintain an attitude of empathicneutrality , a nonjudgmental stance designed to create a safe environment. The analyst asks that the analysand speak with utter honesty about whatever comes to awareness while interpreting the patterns and inhibitions that appear in the patient's speech and other behavior.

Although psychoanalytic techniques have been used in a few cases to successfully treat psychosis (with great effort and major sacrifice on the part of the analyst), psychoanalysis is generally thought by analysts to be useful as a method in cases of neurosisand with character or personality problems. Psychoanalysis is most useful in dealing with ingrained problems of intimacy and relationship and for those problems in which established patterns of life are problematic. As a therapeutic treatment, psychoanalysis generally takes three to five meetings a week and requires the amount of time for natural or normal maturational change (three to seven years).

Psychoanalysis is:

A therapeutic technique for the treatment of neurosis.

A technique used to train psychoanalysts. A basic requirement of psychoanalytic training is to undergo a successful analysis.

A scientific technique of critical observation. The successors and contemporaries of Freud - Carl Jung , Alfred Adler, Wilhelm Reich, Melanie Klein, Wilfred Bion, Jacques Lacan, and many others - have refined Freud's theories and advanced new theories using the basic method of quiet critical observation and study of individual patients and other events.

A body of knowledge so acquired.

A clinical theory. See, for example, <>

A movement , particularly as led by Freud, to secure and defend acceptance of the theoriesand techniques

Psychoanalysis involves extended exploration of the self a realization of the Delphian motto, "Know thyself". In this it resembles the extended meditative practices of Buddhist monastic schools such as Zen If successful, it gives a person the capacity to be present in the moment, responding authentically to circumstances, being free of infantile responses inappropriate to the situation.

Today psychoanalytic ideas are imbedded in the culture, especially in childcare , education , literary criticism and in psychiatry, particularly medical and non-medical psychotherapy Though there is a mainstream of evolved analytic ideas, there are groups who more specifically follow the precepts of one or more of the later theoreticians.

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