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[Glossary of Psychoanalytic Terms and Concepts]

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

Agency: any of the three parts of the personality - ego, superego, id - according to the (->) second topic.

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.

Biphasic onset of sexuality: related to the sexual development, states that the sexual interest at child comprises a latency period during which the interest almost vanishes to occur again later on. 

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

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

Complemental series: term used by Freud to explain the conjunction of two factors: constitutional and traumatic that finally leads to the mind disorder. The constitutional factor is related to the personal heredity while the traumatic one to the early life of the future adult person.

Dream censorship: the (->) censure opposing the repressed wishes to manifest as such during the sleep time.

Cloacal [theory]: Child explanation of birth process imagined as happening through the anus.

Collective unconscious: term coined by Carl Jung to define an inherited unconscious stratum made of archetypes.

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 feelings transferred by the analysis onto his/her patient during the psychoanalytic cure.

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 mechanism 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 (->) primary process, a dream is the fulfillment of a repressed wish (-> repression and repressed). Dreams are made by the (->) dream-work which alters the (->) latent thoughts to create the (->) 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 the dream thoughts (-> latent content) into the (->) manifest content. Several primary preocesses take part to the dream formation: (->) 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.

Fixation: refers to stagnation of libidinal development at earlier stages and objects. This stagnation translates into childhood sexual behavior, feelings and interest at adult age.

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 personality that is completely unconscious and is the source of instinctual energy.

Latency period: stage of (->) psychosexual development characterized 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 unconscious wishes that made the very source of dreams. (-> See also manifest content.)

Libidinal - see libido.

Libido: quantitatively variable of the sexual excitation.

Life drive: opposing (->) death drives, are life instincts working to the life building and conservation. Also called Eros.

Manifest content: related to dream interpretation, refers the content of a dream as it is remebered upon the waking. It is also called the facade of dream, or apparent dream. (-> See also latent content.)

Neurosis: any of various mental or emotional disorders, such as hypochondria and hysteria, 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: reffers to the person or anything else that may be of interest for the individual's libidinal (->) cathexis.

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).

Over-determination: refers to a psychic content that has many different meanings in connection with the unconscious drives.

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 (->) erotogenic 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

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.

Topic: topographic representation of the psychic apparatus. See also first and the second topic.

Transference:  the displacement of childhood feelings toward parents onto the analysit during the psychoanalytic cure. The analysis of transference is one of the basics of Freudian psychotherapy. -> More on transference here . -> See also countertransference.

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.

Several online resources: answer.com and webster dictionary.

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