On several occasions we have spoken of Sigmund Freud and his vital importance in the development of psychoanalysis.
But in addition to the different theoretical constructions, Freud also promoted the Psychoanalytic therapy, A type of psychological treatment that drinks the influence and practical knowledge of the famous Austrian psychoanalyst.
Freud and the importance of the unconscious
Psychoanalytic therapy developed by Sigmund Freud emphasizes the influence of our unconscious on our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. In short, psychoanalysis emphasizes the importance of unconscious content in our mental health, being the cause of many psychological ailments and disorders.
Psychoanalytic therapy studies the unconscious and explores the different experiences of patients during their childhood, with the aim of discovering whether these events may have had an impact on the subject’s vital development, or to recognize these events. mental disorder or problem today. This type of therapy is generally considered for the long term, and seeks a deep and lasting restructuring of the patient’s psyche. Unlike other therapeutic approaches (such as brief therapy), psychoanalytic therapy seeks to create relevant changes in the patient’s personality and emotions, thereby improving self-knowledge and quality of life.
Basic principles of psychoanalytic therapy
To find out what this type of psychotherapy consists of, it is relevant that we review some of the principles and foundations of applied psychoanalysis. It is true that every psychoanalyst will meet the needs of their patients in a unique and personalized way, but most of these therapists follow these basic principles:
- Psychological conflicts are the consequence of problems in the unconscious
- Symptoms are externalized due to latent conditions
- The origin of these unconscious conflicts is usually found in unresolved problems during childhood, or in suppressed trauma.
- Therapy makes these repressed thoughts conscious, and it is at this stage that the patient can process and overcome their fears and conditions.
Basis of intervention of psychoanalytic therapy
Psychoanalytic Therapy inquires about the impulses and impulses that each human being keeps in his or her unconscious, and aims to provide a situation of self-discovery in order to promote an improvement in the current mental state. In this process, the patient must better understand his past and the various vital events that have affected his life, To be able to recompose his beliefs and his memories to overcome the conflicts that he drags.
The therapy spans multiple sessions, which may vary depending on multiple factors and circumstances. In all cases, the atmosphere of trust between the patient and the therapist (the “rapport”) should allow the latter to speak frankly about their latent thoughts, memories and emotions.
The psychoanalyst therapist will limit himself to listening to the patient’s stories and concerns, paying attention to patterns of thoughts or memories that may be of clinical interest. Throughout the therapeutic sessions, the repressed feelings will flourish and the patient will see their anxiety and fears dissipate.
Various therapeutic techniques
We talked about the importance for the psychoanalyst to pay attention to the reflections and thoughts of the patient out loud. But the professional can also use a number of techniques and strategies to encourage the patient to express himself and thus be able to detect the possible causes of his fears and concerns.
Among these techniques, we can find the following.
1. Free association
Free association is a therapeutic technique which consiste in which the patient expresses everything that comes to his mind, trying not to censor or cut off the torrent of memories, Thoughts and ideas you have at the moment. The role of the psychotherapist will be to promote this “fluid speech”, with the aim of bringing the patient back to psychological and emotional states, from which it will be easier to detect the patterns of conflict that the subject can hear.
Therapeutic transfer is the process by which emotions, beliefs or feelings related to important people in the patient’s life (such as their parents, partners or siblings) are transferred to the therapist. Although this transference process does not occur in all therapies, in cases where it does occur, the psychoanalyst should point out to the patient the existence of the phenomenon, give it meaning and understand and improve the form in which the patient relates to his relatives.
One of the fundamental skills of the psychoanalyst is know how to interpret and draw correct conclusions through the patient’s thoughts and stories. At the appropriate time, the therapist will ask and question some of the patient’s thoughts, discussing them thoughtfully. Psychoanalysis also interprets dreams, and their content can also be analyzed for its relevance in the unconscious world.
What is psychoanalytic therapy used for?
Psychoanalytic therapy can be very helpful for people who experience recurring emotional concern, as well as for people who want to get to know each other a little better..
The feeling that we are able to better understand our beliefs, thoughts, emotions and feelings often translates into better self-awareness and well-being. However, psychoanalytic therapy is less recommended in cases where a quick solution to a conflict or psychological difficulty is sought. Psychoanalysis, and in particular the therapy developed by Sigmund Freud, focuses on the knowledge, gradually and deeply, of the unconscious and its manifestations in our daily behavior.
Limitations and criticisms
Circles of psychologists and psychotherapists often point out that the psychoanalytic approach can be more effective in case of non-specific problems, Such as low self-esteem, shyness, insomnia and other sleep disturbances, sexual problems and anxiety.
However, psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy remain controversial for their weak empirical support. Thus, professionals of cognitive-behavioral guidance agree that the psychoanalytic approach is less effective than CBT, which has been scientifically proven to have a high degree of success in cases of specific disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, stress and personality disorders.