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

Mental Illness as Strategy: Game Theory and Psychiatry

Mental illness--like depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenia--is a game, a strategy, invented by the player (often without acknowledgment) to achieve some end, or "payoff."

Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry: Autonomy vs. Heteronomy

The psychiatrist as state agent, the psychoanalyst as contractual helper.
David Hellerstein

Unlocking the Unconscious: 30 Years Later

Thirty years ago Short Term Dynamic Therapy was poised to take over the world of psychotherapy. What happened?

What Business Are Therapists (Really) In?

Is your therapist doing therapy?

Help! My Antidepressants Aren’t Working

Are your antidepressants not working? Adding talk therapy may help.

Can Talking Cure? And If so, How?

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on July 12, 2017 in Insight Therapy
What we talk about when we talk about talk therapy.

Language, Geological Time, and Evolution

Language is one of the most important revolutionary advances of human beings. We will explore language with its individual development and relationship to emotions and cognition.

Six Ways Developmental Trauma Shapes Adult Identity

Dissociation unplugs us from ourselves, interfering with identity formation throughout development. Recovery starts with recognition, moving toward more connected identities.

How Do We Handle Religion in Mental Health Settings?

By Jean Kim M.D. on June 27, 2017 in Culture Shrink
What is the best way to handle a client's religious views if they differ from your own?

The One Question to Ask Every Therapist

A therapist who thinks it’s fine to coast is hardly an advertisement for change.

Hey, New Dads: Having Scary Thoughts Is Common

This Father's Day, let's challenge the most pervasive fantasy of all time — that fathers don’t need emotional support.

The Difference Between Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

There are so many different types of psychotherapy. How do I tell the difference and find an approach that is right for me?
Shutterstock

Community College

Choosing to go to a community college after high school instead of a four-year university was not an easy choice for me to make and caused me a lot of anxiety.

Understanding Bias, Prejudice, and Violence

If we want to understand bias and prejudice, it might help to understand infant development—feelings and how they work—and evolution.

Seven Ways to Surpass Your Supervisors

Do your teachers' abilities to recognize patterns, apply ideas, and develop a working alliance set a cap on what you can learn?

Which Type of Therapy Works Best? New Study Calls It a Draw

In the timeless battle over which type of psychotherapy is superior, a new meta-analytic study find psychodynamic therapy to be equivalent to CBT for adults.

Is Kinkphobia a Crisis in the Mental Health Field?

Qualitative studies show that kinkphobia is a pernicious and pervasive problem within the mental health field.

Helping Kids Understand Frightening Events

How adults can help children cope with the Manchester bombing.
Inner City Books, used with permission

Jungian Analyst Marion Woodman on the American Psyche

By Pythia Peay on May 18, 2017 in America On The Couch
Your ancestors went through the anguish of breaking with their mother country [Britain], even fighting and killing the soldiers of “the mother.” Marion Woodman

The Personal Erotic Myth and the Rise of Fetishsexuality

A new sexual concept paves the way in understanding the role of the unconscious and psyche in exploring authentic sexuality.

Quarks, Quasars and the Mind: Stranger Than We Suppose

Any account of the mind that conveniently dovetails with our common sense should be met with skepticism.

Are All Therapies Equally Effective?

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on May 06, 2017 in Think Well
It's increasingly believed, especially in academia, that all psychological therapies are basically equivalent. Here's why that's an absurd notion, and two other therapy myths.

Psychodynamically Informed Clinical Work

A psychodynamic perspective can enhance and individualize non-analytic treatment — even "med checks."

Six Elements of All “Talking Cures”

Talk therapies are all so different, right? Wrong.

Psychoanalysis? Is That Still Around?

Celebrating Sigmund Freud's birthday by honoring the profession he created.

Clearing Out Weeds and Nurturing Buds of Change

If we really want to change, we must work to clear the weeds that get in the way of our mental health and nurture the innate strengths that are there. A balanced approach is key.
Laura Weis with permission

The Freudian Account of Leadership Failure and Derailment

The Leadership literature shown that a surprisingly high number of business managers cock-up badly. The question is why and what the Freudian interpretation has to offer?

Play: A Different Perspective

Much has been studied and written about play, and we would like to consider play from a somewhat different perspective, namely, that of affect theory.

The Dreams of a Religious Cult Member

What can a thirty-year long dream journal reveal about the life of an ex-member of a religious cult?