What Is Psychoanalysis?

It began, of course, with Freud. Psychoanalysis refers both to a theory of how the mind works and a treatment modality. In recent years, both have yielded to more mainstream, research-driven approaches, but psychoanalysis is still a thriving field.

Belief in the primacy of the unconscious fantasy, sexual desires (libido, penis envy, Oedipal complex), and dreams has wavered. But Freud also identified such basic mental maneuvers as transference, projection, and defensiveness, and demonstrated how they distort our functioning. As a treatment based on extended self-exploration, psychoanalysis has evolved beyond the silent-shrink stereotype.

Neuropsychoanalysis is an up-and-coming subfield that aims to wed the insights of Freudian psychology and its emphasis on subjective experience with neuroscientific findings about brain processes.

Recent posts on Psychoanalysis

Deep Memories of Insects

By Jeffrey Lockwood Ph.D. on February 17, 2017 in The Infested Mind
What creatures infest the dark recesses of the mind?

Emotional Trauma, Context, Authenticity

Emotional trauma discloses painful truths about our existential vulnerabilities.
Used with Permission, Wellcome Library, London

How to Find the Heart of the Soul

Is there a difference between mind and soul?

Donald Trump: Is He as Unpredictable as He Seems?

By Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. on February 02, 2017 in Evolution of the Self
Writers have struggled to figure out just what is guiding our new President’s decision-making. This post should illuminate a subject that may have made you wonder, too.

Is Neuroscience the Future or the End of Psychology?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on February 02, 2017 in Talking Apes
Neuroscience has become the dominant paradigm in psychology. Some think it will even replace psychology altogether.

The Curious Human

Interest is crucial to our learning, exploratory activities, and creativity. But what happens when this feeling of interest or curiosity is squashed…

Is APA Ruining Clinical Training?

Extensive requirements leave little time to reflect.

Psychosomatic? No, my Stomach Really Hurts!

Today’s post is brought to you by my stomachache. My wife says I’m just being psychosomatic, but what does that even mean?

Psychoanalysis Unplugged: Let the Music Begin!

Want to understand why we do the things we do? Welcome to a different kind of psychoanalysis.

Adolescent Depression: Early Mental Health Services Are Key

By Christopher Bergland on January 19, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
Young teenagers with depressive symptoms—who make contact with mental health services—are seven times less likely to develop major depressive disorders later in life, study shows.

A Case Formulation for Tony Soprano

The meaning of the final scene in The Sopranos is that the simple moments of life have been ruined by the legacy of violence.

As Above, So Below—a Sky-Brain Coincidence

Our brains are immersed in atmospheric electromagnetic currents whose spectrum is similar to the spectrum of our brain waves.

Loving Pizza

Freedom, tradition, and erectile dysfunction

Efficacious Acts of Mind

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on January 10, 2017 in This Is America
Humanistic insights can help create an environment that facilitates a person's ability to change his sense of possibilities, change the possibilities, and thereby change himself.

Voting for the Magic Wand, or Trump's Phallic Victory

By Lawrence D. Blum M.D. on January 09, 2017 in Beyond Freud
Voters are influenced by powerful fantasies that pundits don't talk about.
TracySiermachesky/Shutterstock

How Psychoanalysis and Behaviorism Helped Create Advertising

By Allen J Frances M.D. on January 09, 2017 in Saving Normal
How America became a "shop until you drop" culture.

Loveys, Stuffed Animals, and Pets

Ever wondered about the significance of a child's stuffed animal or blanket? And the qualities that make up this relationship? Ever had one yourself?
Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

Dreaming Is Play: A New Theory of Dream Psychology

The best way to understand the psychological power of dreaming is to recognize it as a kind of play that promotes the flexibility and adaptive creativity of the human mind.

Encouraging Interest

How can one sustain and enhance the child’s interest? The first order of business is for us to appreciate the importance of the interest affect and the exploratory behaviors...

For Depressed Teens, Therapy Shows No Edge Over Routine Care

By Peter D Kramer on December 22, 2016 in In Practice
In a major new study, two standard psychotherapies—cognitive-behavioral and brief psychoanalytic—did no better than routine psychiatric care for adolescent depression.

Love and Psychoanalysis

Many mistake the shift in hormones and neurochemicals that are natural in healthy, long-lasting love relationships for a sudden absence of love.

Who Ruined Your Life?

Is it fair to single out our parents as the only people who ruined our lives? There are so many others who can share the blame.

The Wrong Spouse Typically Reads Psychology Articles

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on December 20, 2016 in Feeling Our Way
In marriage, therapy, and supervision, stay in key.

Progress and the Human Psyche

Here is a question for you: which force will be in the driver’s seat of your heart, your mind, and your society? Entropy, homeostasis, or progress?

Kids and Technology, When and How

In the last decade or so, the media has itself become obsessed with the condemnation of technology and social media.

Eating Disorders: How Far We Have Come

Causes of eating disorders are complex and multi-determined. A succinct understanding of where research and theory are headed.

A Step-Child's Guide to Step-Parenting

Each family has its own story with its own peculiar complexities, but most have a moment in which the new boyfriend or girlfriend becomes a parent...

The Power of Curiosity

Might one consider eliciting the child's interests, rather than imposing interests upon the child?

Mind Mirrors Between Therapists and Clients

When you walk into a therapist's office, you may have a problem very similar to one of your therapist's issues.
cco public domain

Falling Down and Getting Up Again

Whatever we may feel about these election results, we must pick ourselves up and carry on. There's work to do.