Psychoanalysis is a psychological and psychotherapeutic theory conceived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's colleagues and students, such as Alfred Adler, Carl Gustav Jung and Wilhelm Reich, and later by neo-Freudians such as Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, Harry Stack Sullivan and Jacques Lacan.

The basic tenets of psychoanalysis include the following:

  1. beside the inherited constitution of personality, a person's development is determined by events in early childhood;
  2. human behavior, experience, and cognition are largely determined by irrational drives;
  3. those drives are largely unconscious;
  4. attempts to bring those drives into awareness meet psychological resistance in the form of defense mechanisms;
  5. conflicts between conscious and unconscious (repressed) material can result in mental disturbances such as neurosis, neurotic traits, anxiety, depression etc.;
  6. the liberation from the effects of the unconscious material is achieved through bringing this material into the conscious mind (via e.g. skilled guidance).

Under the broad umbrella of psychoanalysis there are at least 22 theoretical orientations regarding human mental development. The various approaches in treatment called "psychoanalysis" vary as much as the theories do. The term also refers to a method of studying child development.

Freudian psychoanalysis refers to a specific type of treatment in which the "analysand" (analytic patient) verbalizes thoughts, including free associations, fantasies, and dreams, from which the analyst induces the unconscious conflicts causing the patient's symptoms and character problems, and interprets them for the patient to create insight for resolution of the problems. The analyst confronts and clarifies the patient's pathological defenses, wishes and guilt. Through the analysis of conflicts, including those contributing to resistance and those involving transference onto the analyst of distorted reactions, psychoanalytic treatment can hypothesize how patients unconsciously are their own worst enemies: how unconscious, symbolic reactions that have been stimulated by experience are causing symptoms.

Psychoanalysis has been criticized on numerous fronts, including the view that it constitutes pseudoscience, but it remains influential within psychiatry.

Read more about Psychoanalysis:  Theories, Treatment, Training and Research, Criticism

Other articles related to "psychoanalysis":

Silvia Montefoschi
... Landed to the psychoanalysis after the degree in medicine and in biology ... on issues of intersubjectivity in a unified reading of the history of psychoanalysis from Sigmund Freud to Carl Jung and to this day, applying the "pr ...
Laurence A. Rickels - Academic Life
... shot” to follow throughout in his commitment to psychoanalysis and problems of mourning ... in its command of the contributions of Freud’s early followers to classical psychoanalysis and in its desire to challenge literary studies with a mode of reading ... Bloom, however, in his insistence that the psychoanalysis of literature must go beyond the notions of patricidal writing that followed a generation of psychoanalysts’ reduction of Freud’s thought to ...
Chicago Institute For Psychoanalysis
... The Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis is a center for psychoanalytic research, training, and education that is located on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago ... training in the theory and practice of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy ...
Lay Analysis - Freud and Non-medical Analysts
... In Freud's view, psychoanalysis was a full-fledged professional field and could have its own standards independent of medicine ... of physicians are not equipped for the work of psychoanalysis" ... Thus Freud saw psychoanalysis as "a profession of lay curers of souls who need not be doctors and should not be priests" and this new usage of "lay" (to include non-physicians ...
Psychoanalysis - Criticism
... Psychoanalysis has progressively moved towards the fringes of mental health care ... The theoretical foundations of psychoanalysis lay in the same philosophical currents that lead to interpretive phenomenology rather than in those that lead to scientific positivism, making the theory ... Early critics of psychoanalysis believed that its theories were based too little on quantitative and experimental research, and too much on the clinical case study method ...