Psychoanalysis is a form of therapy with its foundation in subconscious mental processing. It is believed that individuals can experience catharsis and an alleviation of psychological distress by bringing these mental processes, thoughts, and feelings into conscious awareness. The application of therapy today is in its ability to assist clients in achieving a greater self awareness and psychological well-being.

Originally developed by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud in the 1890s, the theoretical framework has influenced the discipline of psychology into modern day society. Its ideas are still incorporated into modern practice although somewhat refined and developed based on its relevance today. There are various schools of thought that have emerged from the original psychoanalytic approach.

The aim of the practice of psychoanalysis is to assist clients in achieving a greater self awareness of hidden emotions and patterns of thinking that could be influencing current behaviors and other emotional processes.

Depending on the problems the client has encountered in his or her life, therapy aims to improve relationships, career problems, emotional difficulty, mood disturbance, and other behavioral and emotional problems. Therapy is practiced by a qualified therapist often referred to as an analyst.

This form of therapy is a slow and ongoing process as the objective of the analyst is to access the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are hidden away from conscious awareness, but buried deep within the subconscious and unconscious mental processes. The therapist will work with individuals on a regularly basis and often involves the process of interpretation and dream analysis. The professional demonstrates how past experience could be influencing present behaviors and thought processes.

The therapeutic approach is widely noted in couples and marriage counseling, family therapy as well as group therapy. In instances where individuals have been diagnosed with some form of mood disturbance or psychological disorder, medication is recommended along with therapy. Practice is also applied to children and adolescents in the form of fantasy play, drawings, and verbal communication.

Many individuals suffering from difficulties in their lives may benefit from Psychoanalysis. This is especially true for those who experience a general dissatisfaction with life, poor relationships, depression, anxiety, sexual difficulty, as well as physical symptoms with no organic basis. The somatoform disorders are often addressed with this form of therapy.

During sessions, clients are often required to discuss thoughts that come to mind termed free association. The role of the analyst is to pay attention to detail and assess areas the client may struggle to discuss while further identifying the presence of poor habits or psychological disturbance. Clients are often required to sit on a coach and not face the therapist which allows for free expression and spontaneous communication.

The objective is to allow individuals to continue to speak in a comfortable and non-judgmental environment where hidden thoughts and emotions are gradually brought to the conscious awareness. The analyst will further discuss the possibility of transference involving the manner in which the client is reacting to their therapist representative of a particular influential individual in his or her present or past life. Psychoanalysis aims to provide individuals with psychological healing through a cathartic release of emotion.

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