As a therapy, psychoanalysis is based on the observation that individuals are often unaware of many of the factors that determine their emotions and behaviours. Because these forces are unconscious, the advice of friends and family, the reading of self help books, or even the most determined personal efforts or measures often fail to provide relief. These unconscious factors may create unhappiness, sometimes in the form of recognizable symptoms and at other times as troubling personality traits, difficulties with work or personal relationships, or disturbances in mood and self esteem.
Psychoanalytic treatment demonstrates how unconscious factors affect current relationships and patterns of behaviour. It traces them back to their historical origins, highlights how they have changed and developed over time, and helps the individual to deal better with the realities of adult life.
The individual that may need psychoanalysis could have already attained important achievements – with friends, marriage, work, or through special interests and hobbies. Nonetheless, this person may be significantly impaired by long-standing symptoms. These can manifest themselves through depression, anxiety or sexual incapacities, or other physical symptoms that, without any demonstrable underlying physical cause, may be experienced in daily life, in fantasies and in dreams. One person may be plagued by private rituals or compulsions or repetitive thoughts of which no one else is aware. Another may live a constricted life of isolation and loneliness, incapable of feeling close to anyone. A victim of childhood abuse might suffer from an inability to trust others. Some people come to analysis because of repeated failures in work or in relationships, brought about not by chance but by self-destructing patterns of behaviour. Others need analysis because the way they are – their character or personality – substantially limits their choices and their pleasures. Others seek analysis to resolve psychological problems that were only temporarily or partially resolved by other approaches. The client and analyst join in efforts not only to modify crippling life patterns and remove incapacitating symptoms, but also to expand the freedom to work and to love. Eventually, the client’s life, behaviour or relationships and sense of self will change in deep and abiding ways.
Analysis is an intimate partnership. It follows a the course in which the client becomes aware of the underlying sources of his or her difficulties, not simply intellectually, but emotionally. This is achieved through the client re-experiencing these underlying sources with the support of an analyst. The analyst helps elucidate these for the client, who refines, corrects, rejects, and adds further thoughts and feelings. Typically, the client attempts to say everything that comes to mind. These conditions create the analytic setting, which permits the emergence of aspects of the mind not accessible to other methods of observation. As the client speaks, hints of the unconscious sources of current difficulties gradually begin to appear; in certain repetitive patterns of behaviour, in the subjects which the client finds hard to talk about, in the ways the client relates to the analyst.
SCIENCE of PSYCHOANALYSIS
Psychoanalysis was created and developed by Sigmund Freud, who presented his method, clinical observations, and theories in ‘Interpretation of Dreams’ and other major works, including ‘The Psychopathology of Everyday Life’ and ‘Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality’, as well as in many of his case studies. It calls for clients to engage in free association of ideas, speaking to therapists about anything that comes to mind.
Psychoanalysis may be defined as (1) a psychological theory; (2) a form of psychotherapy, especially useful for the treatment of neurotic and character or personality disorders; and (3) a method for investigating psychological phenomena; A method of treating mental disorders that emphasizes the probing of unconscious mental processes. Dreams and slips of the tongue are examined as a key to the workings of the unconscious mind, and the aim of therapy is to uncover the tensions existing between aspects of the three parts of the personality identified by Freud; the instinctual drive of the id, the perceptions and actions of the ego, and the censorship imposed by the morality of the superego.
The method relies on an interpretation of what a client says while ‘freely associating’ or reporting what comes to mind in connection with topics suggested by the therapist. The interpretation proceeds according to the scheme favoured by the analyst. This is guided by responses given by the client, which reveal ideas that have been dominating the unconscious, but have been previously inadmissible to the conscious mind of the client. When these are confronted, improvement can be expected. The widespread practice of psychoanalysis is not matched by established data on such rates of improvement.
Analytical Psychology is Jung’s term for his theory and practice of psychology. He coined the term to distinguish it from Freud’s psychoanalysis. The phrase most commonly used today to describe Jung’s model of therapeutic practice is Jungian analysis. Whichever term is used, for Jung, psychoanalysis is ideally an attempt to bring conscious and unconscious elements of the psyche into balance.
Jungian analysis is a form of psychotherapy in which we can work together so that I can increase the client’s consciousness in order to move towards psychological balance and wholeness, and to bring relief and meaning to psychological suffering. The process can treat a broad range of emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety, and it can also assist anyone who wishes to pursue psychological growth. At the heart of Jungian analysis is a realignment of conscious and unconscious aspects of the personality with an ensuing creation of new values and purpose.
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