Psychoanalysis is a therapy based on the theory that people can get an insight of their real motivations and emotions by turning the unconscious into conscious. This theory was started by Sigmund Freud at the end of the 19th century and perfected by his protégée and mentee Carl Gustav Jung in the following time.
Psychoanalytic sessions have created the international symbolic image of a person who seeks to understand his life with the guidance of an experienced psychoanalyst doctor. During these sessions, the patient lies on a bed and expresses his thoughts for the physician to link and associate to primary needs and desires. The aim is to provide the patient with a clearer insight of his pathological issues.
A brief history of psychoanalysis
In the 1890s the Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud was trying to find a suitable treatment for patients with neurological conditions. At that time, people knew very little about what triggers certain mental disorders and how they can be treated. More than that, the few neuroscientists of the 19th century were struggling to prove that it is still possible to socially integrate individuals with neurotic problems.
Freud based his work on the studies of his mentor, the renowned physician Josef Breuer. He then continued to fight the social adversity and bashfulness towards the sexual implications in mental disorders. Freud spent the next decades proving the link between sexual abuse, infantile masturbation, fetishes, and neurotic conditions.
The fundamental laws
Psychoanalysis is based on a set of rules that were initiated by Sigmund Freud and developed by his followers over the course of the 20th century. These rules justify psychoanalytic sessions as a treatment for current medical conditions triggered by forgotten events in early childhood. Doctors in this domain believe that conflicts between repressed memories and actual conscious events lead to mental disorders. As a result, their primary goal is to transfer the unconscious data into a conscious material with which to cure the patient’s anxiety and feelings of anger or depression.
Treatments and therapies
Over the years, psychoanalysts have determined that many mental problems can be resolved with the help of psychoanalytic sessions. Some of these neurotic issues include phobias, sexual dysfunction, obsessions and anxiety attacks. By applying psychological techniques on the patient, the doctor can determine the root of his mental disorder. These methods vary from one psychoanalyst to another, and they range from simple tests to large group therapies.
Criticism and reviews
Psychoanalysis has been met with stern criticism from its early beginnings. Freud has battled distinguished physicists of his time to defend a theory that has now become common knowledge and a field of science. One of his most fierce critics was Sir Karl Popper, one of the most renowned philosophers of science in human history. Popper argued that Freud’s approach was just a mere form of pseudoscience and that his followers were emotional crooks disguised as doctors.
Nevertheless, psychoanalysis is still practiced by many psychiatrists and mental health professionals today, and several studies have shown its effectiveness in treating minor mental disorders.