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

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?

Some Differences Between Traditional and New Therapies

By Stefan G. Hofmann Ph.D. on April 20, 2017 in New Therapies
What is the future of psychoanalysis? Is there one?

Why Do Millennials Get a Bad Rap?

Maybe it is just a failure of generativity.

How to Stand up to the People Who Step All Over You

In ordinary social interactions, there’s the expectation that you respect boundaries. A new article suggests what to do when your boundaries are violated.

A New Big Five for Psychotherapists, Part II

We can transcend the paradigms in psychotherapy by thinking in terms of systems of character adaptation.

Can Addictive Thoughts Be Useful?

Step 1: Recognizing and understanding the emotional forces underlying addictive behaviors.

Dealing With Feelings

"Minimize affect inhibition... Maximize positive affects… Minimize negative affects.” — Silvan Tomkins

Can You Lie to Your Lover?

For a relationship to work, must we always tell the truth?

Why We Care Whether the Earth Is Flat

Much of life is Jeopardy, not Family Feud. We want to know the actual state of affairs, not what the survey says.
Courtesy of Max Pixel

Are We Doomed to Repeat Our Relationship Patterns?

Do the attachment styles we develop in childhood inevitably shape our adult relationships? And if so, can they be changed?

The Meaning of Adam and Eve

By Neel Burton M.D. on March 18, 2017 in Hide and Seek
Was the fall from Eden a price worth paying?

Energizing Jung's Ideas About Synchronicity

Why spend a lifetime studying Jung's ideas about synchronicity? Professor Roderick Main is doing just that and, in this guest post, explains why.

Do You Worry?

Worry is an ordinary part of human experience: a protection from danger, a sign that we care, and a struggle to face the inevitable uncertainties of life.

Attending to the Unconscious in a Psychotherapy Session

By Karen L Smith MSS, LCSW on March 15, 2017 in Full Living
Lots of folks can offer counsel to our clients. Our job is to help them access clues from their unconscious about the turmoils of their soul.

Admissions (and Job) Interviews in Clinical Programs

The selection process is a window into the program’s vision of what psychology is.

Road Rage: It's Only Personal If You Make It So

Feeling the impulse to retaliate against rude driving is normal. But here are some ways to keep your cool.