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[Glossary of Psychoanalytic Terms and Concepts]

Abreaction: Psychotherapeutic method consisting in purging retained emotions through reviving of a traumatic passed event.

Anxiety: A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a realistic or fantasized threatening event or situation, often impairing physical and psychological functioning.

Cathexis: points to the libidinal energy that is invested or attached to some object (person) outside the ego.

Censorship: a kind of selective barrier between unconscious and conscious leading to repression.

Collective unconscious: the inherited part of the unconscious that especially in the psychoanalytic theory of Carl Jung occurs in and is shared by all the members of a people or race.

Condensation: psychological unconscious process whereby two ideas or images combine into a single one bearing features from both (especially in dreams and fantasies). Condensation is part of the (->) primary process.

Counter-transference : refers to the emotions of the analyst towards his patient. (-> transference).

Death drive: a primitive impulse for destruction, decay, and death, coexisting with and opposing life instinct. Also called Thanatos.

Defence mechanisms: Any of various usually unconscious mental processes, including denial, projection, rationalization, and repression, that protect the ego from shame, anxiety, conflict, loss of self-esteem, or other unacceptable feelings or thoughts. (-> More on defences here).

Displacement - Defence nechanism consisting in the transference of the affect from a representation to another, related to it.

Distortion: refers to the dream formation and mainly to the fact that the manifest dream (-> see manifest content) differs from the -> latent thoughts (or dreams thoughts). Distortion is the work of the censorship ->.

Dream: product of unconscious psychic (->) primary process , the dream is in the Freud's view the fulfillment of a repressed wish (-> repression and repressed). Dreams are made by latent thoughts and manifest content (-> latent and manifest content). Dreams may be interpreted by using a specific method created by Freud and published in his Dream Interpretation book. (-> Dream interpretation).

Dream-work : psychical process that leads to the formation of the dream, consisting in altering the latent thoughts or dream thoughts (-> latent content) into the (->) manifest content. The dream-work consists in (->) condensation, displacement, figurability, and secondary elaboration.

Dream interpretation: the basic method of exploration of the unconscious, dream interpretation acquired with Freud a scientific shape. It mainly consists in gathering the associations of the dreamer related to the (->) manifest content. In the words of Freud, the dream interpretation is the reversal of the psychic process that leads to the formation of dreams (-> dream-work), and thus reaches the latent thoughts (-> latent content).
The first historical dream interpreted by Freud himself is the the Irma's injection published in his Dream Interpretation [Traumdeutung] book (1900). (A review of this book may be found
here.) (-> See also the dream interpretation section in this site

Drive: the word translates the German "Trieb" because it is closer to "impulse", "urge", than "instinct". A drive, in psychoanalysis, is a psychic tendency which assumes a biological source, an object of discharge, and a specific charge. Generally speaking, drives are linked with the sexual needs.

Ego: one of the three divisions of the psyche in psychoanalytic theory that serves as the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality and person and the (->) id demands.

Erotogenic (zones): any part of the body susceptible of becoming excited, of being a seat of pleasure. Freud used the term to refer primarily to a number of specific areas, notably, the genitals, mouth, and anus.

Faulty acts: -> See slips and mistakes.

First topic: topographic representation of the psychic apparatus which consist of three systems: unconscious, conscious, preconscious. -> See also the second topic.

Free association: method of investigation of the unconscious in which the client expresses thoughts exactly as they occur, even though they may seem irrelevant to the critical mind. (Read also the article on the free associations method here -> See also the golden rule of psychoanalysis).

Golden rule of psychoanalysis: consists in saying everything that passes through one's mind without any conscious reasonable censorship when following a psychoanalytic cure. This rule may be also found in the free association method. (-> See the free association method).

Guilt: a term denoting an unpleasant feeling associated with unfulfilled, repressed, wishes. (-> See also repression and repressed).

Id: the one of the three divisions of the psyche in psychoanalytic theory that is completely unconscious and is the source of psychic energy.

Latency period - a stage of (->) psychosexual development chatacyetized by the switch of the interest of the child from sexual to other aims.

Latent content/thoughts: applied to the formation of dreams, refers to the thoughts related to the unconscious wishes that made the manifest content of dreams. (-> See also the manifest content.)

Libido: quantitatively variable of the sexual excitation.

Life drive: opposing (->) death drives, points to the life building and sustaining drives. It is characteristic of the sexual drives. It is also called Eros.

Manifest content: applied to the formation of dreams, points to the content of a dream that one remembers upon the waking. This is the facade of dream, the image or idea of it. (-> See also the latent content.)

Neurosis: any of various mental or emotional disorders, such as hypochondria or neurasthenia, arising from no apparent organic lesion or change and involving symptoms such as insecurity, anxiety, depression, and irrational fears, but without psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations.

Object level: in dream interpretation, refers to the object-relation method of interpretation. Images and ideas of dream's (->) manifest content are treated of like real images and ideas taken from the outer, social life, of the dreamer.

Oedipal complex: an universal unconscious sexual wish in a child for the parent of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by hostility towards the parent of the same sex. (-> More on Oedipal complex here).

Parapraxes: -> See slips and mistakes.

Primal scene: refers to the sight of sexual intercourse between the parents, as observed by the child and interpreted as a scene of violence. The scene is not understood in its sexual significance but provokes sexual excitement.

Primal fantasies: connotes those typical fantasy formations (such as observation of sexual intercourse between parents, seduction, castration) which, in Freud's hypothesis, are not directly experienced by the child but part of his/her phylogenetic inheritance.

Primary/secondary processes: refers to the two modes of functioning of the psychic apparatus. The primary process points to the tendency of searching an immediate discharge of the inner excitation or the libidinal drive. It corresponds to the (->) id or the unconscious functioning. Subject of the (->) pleasure principle, it's main characteristic is the illogicalness.
It is replaced later by the secondary process, characteristic of the conscious functioning and the logical thinking, consisting in regulating the inner demands. It is subject of the (->) reality principle..

Projection: the attribution of one's own attitudes, feelings, or desires to someone or something as an unconscious defence against anxiety or guilt. (-> See also the defence mechanisms.)

Psychoanalytic techniques: methods of exploration of the unconscious psyche forged by psychoanalysis. Among them the most important are the (->) free associations method and the (->) dream interpretation. (-> See also the techniques section on this site here.)

Psychic determinism: states that all processes occurring in mind are not spontaneous and free as they seem, but governed by unconscious rules or complexes. For example: when one tries to speak freely about what it comes in his/her mind in relation to a word of his/her free choice, the lines of thoughts are related each other and focus on an unconscious psychic complex. (-> See also the unconscious.)

Psychic energy: force or factor of emotional origin partially covering the term (->) libido.

Psychosexual stages of development: in relation with the libido points to the progressive advancement of modes of obtaining sexual pleasure linked with the excitement of the (->) erogenous zones, starting from mouth and anus, and finishing with the genital one.
There are actually four stages: oral, anal, phallic and genital. For each stage correspond specific modes of obtaining pleasure. (-> Learn more about the psychosexual stages
here.)

Reality/pleasure principles: the reality principle is one of the two major principles that govern the functioning of the mind. It designates the psyche's necessary awareness of information concerning reality and stands in contradistinction to the pleasure/unpleasure principle, which seeks the discharge or elimination of drive tension at all costs.

Repressed: is constituted by the operation of repression, which rejects and maintains in the unconscious representations deemed incompatible with the ego moral/superego moral values.
The repressed is not directly knowable, since it pertains wholly to the unconscious sphere of the mind. -> See also the repression.

Repression: the exclusion of distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings from the conscious mind. Often involving sexual or aggressive urges or painful childhood memories, these unwanted mental contents are pushed into the unconscious mind. -> See also the repressed.

Return of the repressed: process whereby repressed elements, preserved in the unconscious, tend to reappear, in consciousness, in the shape of secondary and more or less unrecognizable "derivatives of the unconscious". Parapraxes, slips or symptomatic actions are examples of such derivatives. -> See also the slips and mistakes.

Second topic: topographic representation of the psychic apparatus consisting of three agencies: id, ego, superego. -> See also the first topic.

Self-analysis: it is the analysis that one is submitted him/herself in order to reach the unconscious and the signification of symptoms. It is usually directed by a trained psychoanalyst (supervisor). It is made with the help of the psychoanalytic techniques such as dream interpretation, free associations etc. Self-analysis is required in the psychoanalysis training. The model of self-analysis is the Freud's one. -> Learn more about Freud's self analysis here.

Slips and mistakes (Freudian): psychic unintentional acts (also called lapses) such us forgetting of names or objects, error of reading or writing, etc. that were analyzed by Freud and revealed links with unconscious psychic matters (complexes). -> See also the slip and mistakes section of this site here.

Superego: the one of the three divisions of the psyche that is only partly conscious, represents internalization of parental interdictions and the rules of society. It is the moralizing and punishing instance in psyche.

Transference: the process whereby emotions are passed on or displaced from one person to another; during psychoanalysis therapy the displacement of feelings toward others (usually the parents) is onto the analyst. Transference analysis is one of the basic methods in Freudian psychoanalysis. -> More on transference here.

Unconscious: the part of the psychic apparatus that does not ordinarily enter the individual's awareness but may be manifested by slips of the tongue, dreams, or neurotic symptoms. -> More on unconscious here.

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Several online resources: answer.com and webster dictionary.

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