What is Psychoanalysis ?
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In his effort to understand what caused the hysterical
symptoms he was trying to treat, Freud discovered that
symptoms were induced by unconscious psychic processes related
to infantile sexuality. The study of his own dreams confirmed
the extent to which the unconscious determination predominated.
He was also able to show the presence of the unconscious
psychic processes in several phenomena (slips of the tongue, parapraxes, jokes) which had not been adequately explained by
the psychology of consciousness. In 1922, Freud gave
psychoanalysis a complex definition which distinguishes three
Psychoanalysis is the name of a procedure for the
investigation of mental processes which are almost
inaccessible in any other way and can be the object of
serious investigation. This procedure is called free
association. Used in the carefully defined setting and
structure of the analytic situation, it becomes the
“fundamental rule” that is to say, the analysand is
requested to say whatever come to mind. Thus appear and
organize the phenomena known as the transference
relationship to the analyst, which constitute the analytic
Psychoanalysis is a method of treatment of a certain
range of psychic disorders, in particular, neurotic
disorders. In fact, the therapeutic dimension of analysis (the
analytic treatment) emerges from the psychic transformations
induced by the awareness of the unfolding process: the
modification of the relationship of the Ego to the
Unconscious translates into –in addition to the relief from
psychic suffering—an increased capacity to love and work.
All other psychoanalytic treatments are to a greater or
lesser degree derived from this model of treatment,
respecting the range of clinical diversity.
Psychoanalysis is a theory organizing the knowledge
obtained from practical experience, which it then inspires,
in return. Because it is primarily concerned with what is
beyond consciousness, that is, unconscious psychic reality,
Freud called the theory Metapsychology.
Psychoanalysis is concerned not only with the singular
experience of an individual analysis, but is equally
preoccupied with and applied to the entirety of human
phenomena in which the unconscious is involved.
There is thus a connection as well as a distinction to be
- the method of investigation required by the specific
characteristics of the unconscious ;
- the effective transformation, inherent to the
psychoanalytic process, which goes far beyond symptom
- the theory which is both limited in its specificity,
while nevertheless open to all disciplines which concern