Psychoanalysis began with the work of Sigmund Freud but has evolved and changed over the years to incorporate the contributions and work of many.
In our complex world, a contemporary form of psychoanalysis is a treatment for emotional discomfort or pain, an avenue for self-discovery and personal growth, and a means toward establishing and enhancing relationships with others and the world at large.
Contemporary psychoanalysis is an interpersonal experience that emphasizes the healing properties of two or more people collaboratively making sense of life in ways that are meaningful to the patient.
Unlike traditional psychoanalysis which holds the analyst as an authority regarding what is true about the patient, contemporary perspectives emphasize the meaning of the patient´s unique and subjective experiences.
Based on current psychoanalytic studies plus research in child development, memory, neurobiology, and culture, contemporary psychoanalysis is an advanced method for making sense of ourselves and the world around us. Today, psychoanalysis is as strikingly different from Freudian analysis as modern physics is from the work of Newton
Psychoanalysis is a treatment approach based on the observation that individuals are often unaware of many of the factors that determine their emotions and behaviour. These unconscious factors may be the source of considerable distress and unhappiness, sometimes in the form of recognizable symptoms and at other times as troubling personality traits, difficulties in work and/or in love relationships, or disturbances in mood and self-esteem. Because these forces are unconscious, the advice of friends and family, the reading of self-help books, or even the most determined efforts of will, often fail to provide relief.
Psychoanalysis, as a treatment method, is based on concepts concerning unconscious mental processes originally formulated by Sigmund Freud and then further developed by many experienced psychoanalysts.
Psychoanalytic treatment can reveal how these unconscious factors affect current relationships and patterns of behaviour, and help the individual to deal better with the realities of adult life.
In the course of intensive psychoanalytic treatment, the nature of the relationship which develops between patient and analyst will have significant features deriving from the internal world of the analysand and become available for experience and exploration by the analysand and analyst together. It will become possible to understand core patterns more deeply and to work to make meaningful, wished for changes.
The most intensive form of psychoanalytic treatment is Psychoanalysis itself. This involves scheduling regular sessions of 45 or 50 minutes (depending on the analyst), from three to five times each week for a number of years.
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, involves in general (but not necessarily) fewer sessions per week. Some patients start with one session a week, come to feel the need for more frequent sessions, and will “build up” from a lesser number of sessions per week to a higher frequency.
The commitment to this analytic setting is a serious one on the part of both patient and analyst.
Psychoanalysis can be applied to psychoanalytically based therapies that take place in individual, group, family, and even organizational contexts
How does psychoanalysis differ from other mental-health therapies?
Here are some characteristics that help differentiate this treatment from other forms of psychotherapy:
· Psychoanalysis is not short-term treatment but its results are often lasting with positive effects that are usually realized in the years following the completion of treatment.
· Patients often use the couch, which fosters thinking, emotional experience and self-reflection and allows for privacy and connection in equal measure.
· It is the power of self-understanding in the context of a facilitating therapeutic relationship that allows psychoanalysis to be effective.
· Patients are encouraged to attend frequent sessions during the workweek. This allows for continuity and intensity of focus and is not a measure of the severity of the problem.
Psychoanalysts are specifically trained to work in this intensive, dedicated manner in a close partnership with each patient.
A wealth of experience and research has confirmed that this is the best way to help patients evolve and change in meaningful ways.