You may have heard about psychoanalysis as a form of therapy. Coined by Dr Sigmund Freud, the treatment has a lot to do with thoughts and feelings which often lie dormant in the unconscious mind. People have varying degrees of confidence in psychoanalytic therapy, but the fact is, it remains one of the most popular and effective treatments for many conditions today.
What is Psychoanalysis?
Psychoanalysis is often referred to as ‘talk therapy’ because it involves a lot of talking between psychoanalyst and patient. The idea is to try and tap into the unconscious mind of individuals, to discover what experiences, thoughts or feelings from their past may be influencing their current state of mind.
Essentially, it works on the premise that everyone has three main parts to their personality. Firstly, their instinct and basic fundamental drives, which represent unconscious energy. Secondly, the conscious mind which often tries to keep control of one’s instinct. Finally, there is the external reality, and these are a person’s conscious thoughts.
In all people, one of these three functions is more dominant. The psychoanalyst uses various methods to help a patient balance these functions and understand where their thoughts come from, and how their unconscious thoughts are affecting their daily lives today.
When is Psychoanalysis Recommended?
Not everyone will be suited to psychoanalytic therapy. It involves delving deeper into a person’s consciousness to address the root cause of current problems. If a person is reluctant to address issues from their past, and simply want to handle situations better today, psychoanalysis may not be successful.
If, however, a patient has a true desire to understand their internal motivators and make sense of how their past experiences influence their present, it can be a terrific, if not at times difficult process.
What Issues Can Psychoanalysis Be Used to Treat?
Psychoanalysis, as we said, is all about tapping into a person’s past experiences and unconscious thoughts. It really involves getting right to the heart of an issue, rather than just the ways in which an issue manifests itself. Because our experiences can shape so much of the way we cope with life in the present, psychoanalytic therapy is useful for treating a number of conditions. This includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Many phobias
- Panic disorders
- OCD and other obsessive behaviours
- Dealing with trauma
- Sexual problems
- Self-esteem problems
- Eating disorders
- Relationship problems
- Self-destructive behaviours
It’s important to remember that psychoanalysis is one form of treatment for these conditions. It’s not expected to be a magical cure-all, but a way for patients to better understand themselves. Other forms of treatment are of course helpful in conjunction with psychoanalysis.
If you feel that your condition may benefit from psychoanalysis, we strongly urge you to speak to your treating physician. You should also do some of your own research to learn more about psychoanalytic therapy. Your treating physician will be able to discuss it further with you and advise whether psychoanalysis could be an effective treatment.