What is Psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis, originally developed by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), is a complex talking therapy that explores the unconscious mind.

It is based on the theory that the early relationships with our parents and childhood experiences of love, loss, sexuality and death all create unconscious patterns in the mind. These can lead to emotional conflict, destructive behaviours and difficulties in relating to others as adults.

Psychoanalysis aims to help you become more aware of, and understand, what goes in in your unconscious mind so that you can make choices about how to live and so feel better about yourself.

It can help if …

People seek advice and help from psychoanalysis for reasons including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, self-destructive, obsessive and compulsive behaviours, relationship problems, loss, general malaise or symptoms without an underlying medical cause.

What happens?

Psychoanalysts appear quite passive compared to other psychotherapists. Whilst they may be emphatic, they won’t reveal personal reactions and feelings during a session. You may be asked to lie on a couch, with the analyst sitting slightly behind you out of view. He or she will ask you to say what is going through your mind and then try to find patterns and meanings within it. How you relate to the therapist may also throw light on other relationships in your life. This type of therapy can be very intensive, as it aims to delve deep into your personality, with as many as four or five sessions every week for a number of years.

For more information, see The Institute of Psychoanalysis.