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

Pressures on Your Therapist Not to Be Psychologically-Minded

A psychologically-minded therapist is to mainstream psychology like a person practicing a forbidden religion.

Standard Interpretations in Psychotherapy

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 22, 2015 Fighting Fear
Psychotherapists who cannot think of something sensible to say sometimes make facile interpretations which do not apply to any particular patient and which are, for the most part, wrong.

'Altered Minds' Brings Modern Crises to the Big Screen

Michael Weschler’s newest film, Altered Minds, provides an over-the-top glimpse into family dynamics gone awry. One reason that family dynamics and resultant mental health issues can be so messed up these days pertains to evolutionary mismatch. Here’s how.

The Elephant in Sigmund Freud's Consulting Room

By Rebecca Coffey on November 17, 2015 The Bejeezus Out of Me
Imagine growing up gay in a household where your world-renowned father calls lesbianism a gateway to mental illness. And it is always, he said, caused by the father and curable by analysis. Now imagine that he analyzes you.

Is Your Therapist Psychologically-Minded?

A therapist who isn't psychologically-minded will feel superior to you.

Psychoanalysis Today

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on November 08, 2015 The Me in We
Do concerns about money prevent you from gaining in depth self knowledge?

4 Myths About Schizophrenia

Contrary to their portrayal in some media, individuals with schizophrenia are able to live relatively normal lives. As it turns out, myths — not facts — heavily influence how people view schizophrenia. Here are only a few of the commonly believed myths about the mental health disorder.

RoboDoc: Is it Time to Fire Your Therapist?

Subtle cues such as micro-facial expressions, the frequency of looking at the floor, as well as speech patterns speak volumes about patients and their mental health. The only problem is computers are the only things capable of detecting them.

Why Do You Keep Making the Same Relationship Mistakes?

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on October 31, 2015 Off the Couch
Do you keep having the same argument with your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse? Do you keep falling into the same relationship rut? Do you think you’ve changed only to discover that you’ve just repeated a familiar pattern? If you do, you’re not alone.

The Several Meanings in a Meaningful Coincidence

By taking apart coincidences and examining their qualities, we can more fully appreciate them.

Libido Lane

For whatever reason, actors have been famously attracted to therapy ever since there was such a thing, but probably not more so than a half-century or so ago in the United States. Celebrities back east may have gravitated to psychoanalysis as a way to deal with their demons but Hollywood folks considered it a virtual necessity.

Guns, Mental Health, and Insurance

We can’t identify who is going to be the next shooter with tests and diagnosis. But we can adjust our thinking regarding optimal mental and physical health and, rather than continuing to stigmatize those individuals engaged in long term talk therapy, accept the fact that it provides great benefits for all of us.

The Walking Dead: The Further Confessions of Father Gabriel

On AMC's The Walking Dead, Father Gabriel Stokes lets zombies kill the members of his congregation, then projects his feelings about his own cowardice and untrustworthiness onto the program's main characters. After becoming progressively more self-destructive, attempting suicide by walker and provoking someone else, he sees he projected his own worst qualities onto others.

Going to Therapy: A Sign of Sanity or Insanity?

Is going to therapy evidence of deep, dark problems or a sign of health and maturity?

Should You Major in Psychology?

The Data Doctor answers a question about psychology as an undergraduate major.

Sometimes I Give in to my Kid, and I Am OK With That

By Karen L Smith MSS, LCSW on October 12, 2015 Full Living
While we mostly agree as parents that consistency is a key to successful compliance from our kids, letting them sway us to break our rules and/or change our minds has its benefits as well.

Suicide as a Form of Homicide

There are as many reasons for killing oneself as there are for killing other people.

9 Indications Your Psychotherapy May Need A Tune-Up

How do I know when my therapy is deadlocked? The following discussion was provoked by feedback we received on a blog entry on the “doctor-patient relationship,” and provides food for thought for both therapists and their patients.

Putting Trump and the GOP on the Couch

The GOP presidential candidates appeal to needs for safety and security through grandiosity and paranoia. Psychologists can help us understand how American Exceptionalism and xenophobia function to counteract feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, isolation, and self-blame, all of which are on the rise. Paranoia and grandiosity are pathological solutions.

Relevant Psychoanalysis: "What Does This Email Mean?"

By Wednesday Martin Ph.D. on September 23, 2015 Stepmonster
More and more, patients bring their iPhones into therapy sessions. And their longing, too. Here's how smart shrinks handle it...

The Analyst and the Author

By Pythia Peay on September 21, 2015 America On The Couch
I was well into my second decade of analysis when I hit a wall in my freelance writing career. It was early 2000, and, gathering my courage, I’d submitted a query to George magazine—with its marriage of politics and celebrity, one of the coolest “glossies” on the newsstands at the time—only to have it politely rejected.

Is Picky Eating a Sign of Mental Illness in Kids?

Certain habits increase the risk for depression, anxiety, and ADHD.

You Aren't Who You Think You Are

The reason why you aren't who you think can improve your life

Psychosexual Stages: Freud’s Theory

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on September 05, 2015 A Sideways View
Is Freudian personality theory valid?

5 Reasons This Isn't Your Grandfather's Psychoanalysis

By Kristi Pikiewicz Ph.D. on September 03, 2015 Meaningful You
The image that many people have of psychoanalysis is from the 1950's or even earlier. Times change. And so has psychoanalysis.

Examples of the 4 Things Competent Therapists Do

The problem with principles is that they can lead to rules and checklists instead of empathic understanding.

Why Love Can Turn Into Rage

No one like being rejected or left, but for narcissistic individuals, a rejection can become the stimulus for a dangerous over-reaction. If you’ve ever been the target of one of these attacks, you know how frightening it can be. Understanding the cause of your ex’s rage can help both of you cope more reasonably.

Psychiatry and Frankenstein

Effective psychiatric treatments may serve as unwanted reminders that the human mind is a machine that can be broken and remedied with mechanical fixes

The Psychology of Self-Deception

By Neel Burton M.D. on August 28, 2015 Hide and Seek
A short, sharp look into some of the most important ego defenses.