Meaning of Psychoanalysis

What is Psychoanalysis:

Psychoanalysis or psychoanalysis is a therapeutic practice founded by the Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud at the end of the 19th century when he sought clinical treatment for neurotic or hysterical patients.

Psychoanalysis is a method of investigation and therapeutic treatment of some mental illnesses based on the understanding of the behavior, feelings and ways of thinking of the patient.

The word psychoanalysis comes from the Greek psycho either psyche which means soul or mental activity and analysis which means examination or study.

The psychoanalyst is the professional person, whether psychologist or psychiatrist, who practices psychoanalysis by analyzing the patient’s unconscious through the method of free association, interpretation of dreams and failed acts.

See also:

  • Psyche
  • Soul
  • Introspection.
  • Analysis.

Psychoanalysis according to Sigmund Freud

Psychoanalysis according to the neurologist Sigmund Freud covers 3 levels:

  • It is a method of investigation of the unconscious of the subject by means of free association,
  • interprets dreams and failed acts and
  • It is a therapeutic treatment and a set of psychological and psychopathological theories derived from the results of the 2 previously identified methods.

Sigmund Freud elaborates a formulation of the psyche that indicates a differentiation of the psychic apparatus endowed with different characteristics or functions, it includes 2 topics;

The conscious, unconscious and preconscious: the conscious seeks to connect to the external world and recognize the stimuli from the inner psychic life, both governed by the reality principle. The unconscious formed by repressed contents that seek to return to consciousness or were never conscious but are incompatible with consciousness, are governed by the principle of pleasure and repression, which are mechanisms that make the contents of the unconscious belong hidden. The preconscious qualifies the contents that are not present in consciousness.

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The ego, superego, and it: the ego represents the reality principle and acts as an intermediary between the id and the superego to maintain its integrated organization. The superego constitutes the moral norms and ideals received from the outside world and that is why it contains conscious and unconscious contents. The id represents the unconscious, symbolizes the pleasure principle, contains the most primitive impulses.

Psychoanalysis uses the term ‘drive’ or ‘impulse’ to analyze human behaviour. The drive are stimuli from our body that have an impact on our psyche.

The libido is the psychic energy of the sexual drive. Children as they grow discover different areas of the body seeking libidinal satisfaction. The stages of libidinal development are as follows:

  1. the first oral stage (birth – 12 or 18 months),
  2. the second anal stage (12 or 18 months – 3 years),
  3. the third phallic stage (3-6 years),
  4. the fourth stage latency period (6 years until puberty) and
  5. the fifth genital stage (from puberty to childhood).

The excess or absence of the mentioned stages during the growth of the child can cause illnesses or mental disorders in adult life.

psychoanalyst treatments

free association

In free association, the patient must express all his ideas, thoughts, images and everything he thinks to the psychoanalyst. The patient in this phase shows a repression that makes it difficult for him to accept his own experiences. The psychoanalyst must interpret the emotions and the psychic functioning of the patient.

Dream interpretation

Dreams are symbolic wish fulfillments. The desires and desires are prohibited in the conscious state and have an opportunity to externalize after the dream disfigurement, that is, the process called by Sigmund Freud to discover the dreamer’s ideas through the following mechanisms; condensation, displacement, dramatization and symbolization.

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failed acts

The failed acts is the sample of unconscious processes or repressed intentions.

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