Psychoanalysis therapy is one of the most popular treatments and this therapy is made to help patients comprehend the unconscious forces that have a major role in their emotions and other mental factors. It helps recover repressed emotions and thoughts.
A psychoanalyst may help you provide therapy as he/she listens to the fantasies, dreams and other experiences of their patient. He may then search for the patterns or events from the past that play a prominent role in the patient’s current problems.
Psychoanalysis is a method of treating the mental disorder with the help of psychoanalytic theory which is often called “depth psychology”.
Also read: Emotion-Focused Therapy
What is Psychoanalysis Therapy?
Psychoanalysis therapy is a type of “depth talk” therapy that intends to bring in-depth buried thoughts and emotions to the conscious mind so that past experiences can be assessed and evaluated thoroughly. It is defined as a group of psychological theories and methods of Sigmund Freud.
The main assumption of psychoanalysis is that all people possess certain unconscious feelings, thoughts, beliefs, dreams and memories and the central aim of this therapy is to release these emotions and experiences and make the unconscious mind aware. Psychoanalysis therapy is used very commonly for treating depression and anxiety disorders.
As mentioned above, the theories behind psychoanalysis therapy come from the work of Sigmund Freud. He started studying with Jean-Martin Charcot, a renowned neurologist who treated women having ‘hysteria’ with hypnosis.
He believed that talking to his patients about past traumas or experiences may ameliorate the symptoms. Freud developed his method of in-depth talk therapy and established therapeutic techniques. His work is still influential in the world of psychotherapy.
How does Psychoanalysis Therapy Work?
Psychotherapy involves psychoanalyst spending time with their patients listening to them talk about their lives and their past experiences which is why this therapy is often called “the talking cure”.
It involves the psychoanalyst to look for the patterns which play an important role in the patient’s current problems as childhood events, unconscious feelings, thoughts and emotions play a role in mental disorders. Psychoanalysis therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions and mental disorders in adults and children.
These may include:
- Panic Attacks
- Eating disorder
- Sexual problems
- Relationship problems
- Self-esteem problems
- Obsessive behaviour
Also read: Types of Psychological Therapy
A psychoanalyst may provide therapy by:
- Talking with patients individually
- Enabling patients to identify their emotional status.
- Holding sessions four times a week.
- Assisting patients to comprehend the unconscious factors that affect their behaviour.
- Keeping experiences and emotions which patients share confidential.
- Keeping detailed notes of every session.
Psychoanalysis therapy is a long term course of treatment and in most traditional psychoanalysis therapies, the patient lies on the couch and the therapist sits behind the patient so that the patient is comfortable.
Techniques Used in Psychoanalysis Therapy
The main aim of psychoanalysis therapy is to awaken the unconscious feelings, thoughts and emotions and helping the patient get free of controlling demands of the superego. The goal of psychoanalysis therapy is to restructure the personality rather than reducing the symptoms, so the process goes on for a long period.
The traditional psychoanalysis therapy techniques have been replaced by modern approaches. These are some of the central psychoanalysis therapy techniques:
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This technique involves the patient to talk about whatever comes to their mind without altering the flow of memories, experiences or ideas. There is no judgment from the therapist. The therapist pays close attention to the patient’s free associations and searches for patterns and hidden meanings. The random words, expressions and way of talking may help the therapist to discover the hidden meanings.
According to Freud dreams are “the Royal Road to the unconscious mind” and it acts as a medium for individuals to convey unconscious desires and feelings that are too frightening to bring into the conscious life.
However, the dreams are often altered and therefore the psychoanalyst helps the patient interpret and discern the dream’s content to discover hidden meanings behind those dreams.
Interpretation is a very prominent part of psychoanalysis therapy. It involves your therapist staying quiet and allowing you to talk freely. They may occasionally interject with the thoughts or interpretations you share with them. While doing so, they may closely analyse them.
They look for some common themes or patterns in the patient’s stories. They provide the patient with an interpretation of their inadvertent choice of word or phrase.
Transference means the way the patient may transfer thoughts or feelings linked to the prominent part or people of their lives, it may be a parent or sibling. They may engage in transference when they transfer feelings they had or have for someone in the past or present.
The analyst doesn’t prevent transference from occurring but they interpret the meaning of these responses to help the individual become conscious of how past relationships could impact the present choices, problems or emotions.
Benefits of Psychoanalysis Therapy
The therapists offer an empathetic and non-judgmental approach and environment where the patient feels confident and safe in sharing the thoughts and emotions which led to stress or difficulties in their life. Here are some benefits of psychoanalysis therapy:
- The therapy is tailored according to the needs of the individual and their life history. So, it helps the individual to understand and comprehend their unconscious mind.
- The patient is accepted for who they are and are not judged or compared with some “norm”.
- Psychoanalysis therapy is not time-limited. It affords the patient to preserve the therapeutic relationship as long as it substantiates important or beneficial.
- The ultimate aim of this therapy is to lessen human suffering and enhancing the quality of life.
This was all about psychoanalysis therapy, its benefits, techniques and how it works. Often, sharing the burdens and maladaptive thoughts or feeling in the context of a therapeutic relationship can be beneficial to the individual.
People who have long term anxiety, depressive mood and behaviour that hurt their life may choose psychoanalysis therapy.
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