Psychoanalysis > Psychotherapy

powered by FreeFind

About the Psychoanalytic

Ghosts picture

[Methods, practice and examples]

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy appeared as an alternative for the classic treatment of mind disorders (aka neurosis) based on electrical shocks or hydrotherapy.

Freud invented his method - initially called talking cure - starting from the experiences of his friend and collaborator Dr. Breuer with a hysteric patient. In short, Breuer noticed that the hysterical symptoms of the patient remit when she was made to remember and relive, under hypnosis, the traumatic events.

At first, Freud turns as well to hypnosis, which he subsequently gives up for the free associations , a method based on his belief in the psychic determinism.

The psychoanalytic psychotherapy is mainly concerned with the analysis of the unconscious, or more explicitly of the repressed . At the center of this analysis is the dream, which, in Freud's opinion is structured as a symptom. Freud thought that by dream interpretation we choose the royal road to the unconscious, to the repressed. This aspect remains central in the psychoanalytic cure of mind disorders.

Alongside with dreams, Freud analyses as well the slips and mistakes . The Freudian slips are systematically dealt with in his famous book Psychopathology of Everyday Life. Together with the Interpretation of Dreams, it remains a standard in the psychoanalytic approach of the psyche.

Freud brings great contributions to the understanding and analysis of the dream symbols. Unlike his colleague, Carl Jung, Freud reduces the significance of the symbols to sexual matters, thus conforming to his opinion on the sexual etiology of mind disorders.

Finally, the psychoanalytic psychotherapy is completed with the analysis of the transference. In a famous talk with Carl Jung, Freud underlines the importance of the transference in the analytical practice. Jung wrote:

    [Freud] asked me out of the blue: "And what do you think about the transference?" I replied with the deepest conviction that it was the alpha and omega of the analytical method, whereupon he said: "Then you have grasped the main thing". (The Psychology of the Transference, Ark Paperbacks, p. 8.)

The psychoanalytic psychotherapy has as a fundament a representation of the mental apparatus formed of psychic instances, and a vision of its functioning that imposes two basic principles: the reality and the pleasure one.

Last but not least, a great emphasis is placed on the repression which explains the occurrence of the symptoms.

Please note that the psychoanalytic approach of mind disorders doesn't appeal to medicines.


Several must-read books by Freud and the Amazon links:

    - The Interpretation of Dreams (explains the method of dream interpretation with a lot of examples):

    - The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud (includes the above mentioned and the Psychopathology of Everyday Life): .

    - An Autobiographical Study by Sigmund Freud, shows the development of basic psychoanalytic ideas:


    See also:

  • About the cathartic therapy - click here.
  • Also check our case study site section providing examples of psychoanalytic treatment here .

Copyright 2002-2024, AROPA. All rights reserved.