Sigmund Freud, with his innovative and genius for understanding people’s inner motivations and his unflagging determination in the face of violent opposition, broke through and laid a foundation for the science of the psychic processes in establishing what is known today as psychoanalysis.
What to expect?
Freud observed that equally good therapeutic results could be obtained without hypnosis by permitting the patient to talk freely, expressing whatever ideas came to mind. Freud coined the term “psychoanalysis” for the process of uncovering and permitting the verbal expression of hidden traumatic experiences. Freud discovered that there were forces that kept memories from invading consciousness, and he found that it was necessary to neutralize the repressing forces before recall was possible.
How does it work?
As par Freud, the mental energy associated with the experiences was blocked off, and not being able to reach consciousness was converted into bodily innervations. The discharge of strangulated emotions (abreaction), through normal channels during hypnosis, would relieve the need to divert the energy into symptoms. This method was termed catharsis.
An effective way to overcome resistances was to permit the patient to relax and to talk freely about any ideas or fantasy that entered his or her mind, no matter how trivial or absurd. Freud could observe in this free association a sequential theme that gave clues to the nature of the repressed material.
Mainly through an introspective analysis of dreams, Freud (1938) was able to show how dreams were expressions of unconscious wishes and fears that evaded the barriers of repression through the assumption of symbolic disguises. He perfected a technique of arriving at the meaning of the unconscious material through the translation of symbols.
Furthermore, Freud observed that when patients were encouraged to say whatever appeared in their mind, irrational attitudes toward the therapist—such as deep love, fear, hate, overvaluation, expectancy, disappointment, and other strivings which were not justified by the reality situation or were irrational—were verbalized.
The material uncovered by Freud from his studies of free association, dream interpretation, and analysis of the transference suggested to him that there was a dynamic portion of the psyche, which was closely associated with the emotional disorder, that did not follow the set laws of mental functioning. Freud called this aspect of the mind the unconscious, and he set about to determine the unique laws that dominated the repressed psychic component. To help him in this task he formulated a topography of the mind by dividing it into three zones or systems: the unconscious (Ucs.), the preconscious (Pcs.), and the conscious (Cs.).
In studying the symbols arising from the unconscious, Freud noted that they were concerned primly with sexual material, and he concluded from this that the unconscious was preoccupied for the most part with sexual wishes and fears. In the process, he assumed that the most important traumatic events that had been repressed were sexual in nature. It was largely on this evidence that he evolved his theory of instincts or the libido theory.
When is it used?
Role of Therapist:
According to Freud, patients identified the therapist with significant personages in their past, particularly their parents or significant others, and that this identification motivated the transfer over to the therapist of attitudes which is similar to those that they originally had toward their parents. This phenomenon Freud called transference. Transference distinguishes Psychoanalysis from other psychotherapies.