Psychoanalysis: The talking cure
Developed by Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis is the process of making unconscious conscious. It requires establishment of a working alliance, which occur through development of transference, which is achieved by working against resistances provided by the client.
What to expect?
The objective of psychoanalysis is to increase the emotional maturity of an individual, to promote realistic outlook and health of the client. The motives includes: helping person to verbalize their unconscious and working through the client’s immature defense mechanisms.
How does it work?
- Fostering expression - Confrontation: Fostering expression include helping client to assume most of the responsibility for bringing up topics of importance in the therapeutic sessions. The client is encouraged to broaden their area of disclosure so that the root cause of a problem can be identified. The analyst vigorously confronts the clients when necessary.
- Suggestion: The analyst might suggest the client to attend certain topics, to follow certain principles for disclosure or try alternative modes of perceiving or thinking. The choice of taking the suggestion is left up-to the client. Covert suggestion is avoided.
- Clarification: This includes techniques or questioning what the client has told, to achieve a better picture. Similar to that of paraphrasing. It is mostly the clarification of the sequence of events.
- Interpretation: It involves telling clients about the presence of unconscious and how it works. Broadly clients receives three types of interpretations namely, transference interpretation, dynamic interpretation and dream interpretation. Interpretation is not enough to induce psychic change.
- Repeatation and Working through: Working through involves repeated examination of same topic. In a progressing treatment, each repeatation is different and contributes to overall decrease of repression and increased understanding.
- Complications: Sometimes, clients have an initial phase of effective work and then deterioration of their condition. This is called Negative Therapeutic Reaction. This requires recognition of the analyst and elimination as the therapy progresses.
- Techniques and settings: The setting is an intensive psychotherapeutic unit where the client is seen 4/5 times in a week to enable the conscious experience and analysis of unconscious emotional conflicts. The method provide privacy and confidentiality with the main technique being analysis of dream, Freudian slips and free association.
When is it used?
Psychoanalysis is very flexible and can be used almost for all kinds of neurotic psychological ailments. According to Sigmund Freud, the root cause of all psychological distress lies in the unconscious of an individual. Therefore, exploration of unconscious can help in betterment of clients with almost all kind of neurotic disorders.
Role of analyst:
In psychoanalysis, the analyst has a huge role to play.
- Transference: It may be broadly defined as the experience of feeling toward a person that do not befit the intended individual but belong to another person from past. Intensive analysis of transference is the mode of operation that technically distinguishes psychoanalysis from other forms of psychotherapy.It is am essential therapeutic relationship. Its manifestation may include over endowment of the analyst as an idealized image. Transference is characterized by Inappropriateness, Ambivalence, Intensity of emotion, tenacity and capriciousness of the client,s behaviour. Transference may be positive, negative or sexual.
- Countertransference: In the analytic relationship both the client and the analyst experiences the client’s life in an active and vivid way. In that spirit, the analyst might also experience transference, called the countertransference. Which occurs towards the clients when the client reminds the analyst of an important figures from the past. The analyst do not work on countertransference but rather uses her awareness of these feelings as further information to wards understanding of the client’s world.
Nelson-Jones, R. (2006). Theory and practice of counselling and therapy (4th ed.). Sage Publications Ltd.