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

We Don't Repress Painful Childhood Memories

By Temma Ehrenfeld on April 22, 2015 in Open Gently
Most people remember incidents of sexual abuse as children though they may not have understood them.

If the Earth Spoke, Would We Listen?

By Pythia Peay on April 21, 2015 in America On The Couch
It has often seemed to me that the only way humankind will change in time to avert its headlong course toward environmental destruction will be through the emergence of a new myth. Gary S. Bobroff, a Jungian-oriented psychologist, has devoted his life to studying the emergence of just such a history-changing myth: the emergence of . . .the phenomenon of crop circles.

Analyzing Analysts

In Shrinks, Jeffrey Lieberman reviews psychiatry's "tumultuous history," and its current emphasis on the medical treatment of mental illnesses. He maintains that psychiatry fares best when it avoids the extremes of reductionist neurobiology and the psychodynamic element in existential disease. That said, Shrinks does not address important questions about talk therapy.

Remembering the Holocaust: A Psychoanalytic Moment

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on April 16, 2015 in Child in Mind
Much has been written about the Holocaust and intergenerational transmission of trauma. This clinical vignette offers insight in to the workings of the unconscious and how the process of analysis can bring these issues to light.

Treatments Available to Long Term Abduction Victims

A variety of therapeutic techniques that focus on empowerment and reconnecting with family can help abduction victims heal.

Expanding the Self

We should reciprocate the gift of our own lives..... To be focused narrowly - worrying excessively about our personal skills and accomplishments and about the public's regards of these - is to remain forever a child.

Why Be Ordinary?

Because you don't win a gold medal by trying to win a gold medal.

8 Signs You're in a Relationship with a Sexual Narcissist

Sexual narcissism can be defined as a grandiose sense of one’s sexual prowess which, in the mind of the sexual narcissist, entitles him or her to engage in acts of emotional and physical manipulation at the partner’s expense. How do you know when your partner may be a sexual narcissist? Here are eight telltale signs...

Am I Mad Or Bad?

By Nick Luxmoore on April 04, 2015 in Young People Up Close
There are times when a young person wants to know what a therapist actually thinks. Therapists can't duck the question but how they respond is crucial.

What Constitutes Psychological Health?

By Gregg Henriques on April 03, 2015 in Theory of Knowledge
Psychological health is often a vague notion that is characterized in terms of the absence of psychopathology. This blog briefly reviews some frames for thinking explicitly about what constitutes psychological health.

The Ordinary Hero's Journey: Part I

You may be wondering why a psychoanalyst is writing about the hero’s journey—isn’t that the domain of Joseph Campbell, the stuff of mythology, religion, literature, and History channel documentaries? Well, the reason is simple.

Language

Language represents a huge developmental leap. Think of all the things we can accomplish with our words and language. We can enhance relationships with our children. We can share feelings and ideas.

You're Okay . . . That's All You Need to Remember

The desire and expectations you have for your own personal growth should be tempered by the acknowledgement that you are okay and that you, alone, know yourself best.

Living Comfortably with Hypocrisy and Negative Evidence

By Warren W Tryon Ph.D. on March 22, 2015 in The Missing Link
How do people live comfortably with hypocrisy and negative evidence?

Book Review: Wisdom from the Couch

By Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP on March 22, 2015 in In Therapy
Dr. Jennifer Kunst shares the warmer, friendlier side of Kleinian psychology in this interview and book review.

Wresting Meaning from Loss

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on March 21, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Coping with loss -- then and now.

The Therapy Relationship in Psychodynamic Therapy versus CBT

Some therapists have no idea what a therapeutic relationship means

Treating William Shakespeare

Asking which of the things I did that worked and which didn’t is exactly the same as asking which things the patient does in response I should feel rewarded by.

Reflections on Therapeutic Mastery, Part 1

Reflections on therapeutic mastery from an existential-humanistic point of view.

3 Major Warning Signs of Relationship Trouble

Most of us want to meet and settle down with the “right” person, and most of us want such a relationship to last. Yet, 53% of marriages in the U.S., 48% in Canada, 47% in the U.K., and 43% in Australia end in divorce. What are some of the major warning signs of a relationship in trouble? Here are three key indicators based on research...

Growing Up Without Therapy

By Lawrence D. Blum M.D. on March 07, 2015 in Beyond Freud
Now and then I have met someone who seems to have grown up, without therapy, into a relatively balanced, contented person, little encumbered by internal conflicts. As a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, I continue to wonder how to account for this. Emotional maturity is difficult to accomplish on one's own.

How to Parent

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on March 06, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Parenting, then and now.

Jodi Arias Wins

After a deadlocked jury, for Jodi Arias the death penalty is now off the table.

Where No Woman Has Gone Before? Empowerment in Prometheus

By Kyle D Killian Ph.D. on March 05, 2015 in Intersections
In the sci-fi future, gender stereotypes persist, and opportunities exist.

Carl Rogers' Person-Centered Approach

Is non-directive therapy the same as client-centered therapy?

Meaning is Where the Action Is

Whether a therapist’s expression of emotional understanding will produce therapeutic or counter-therapeutic effects will depend on the emotional meanings that such expressions have for the patient.

Modern Intellectual History of Cognitive Sciences

By Sean X. Luo M.D., Ph.D. on February 28, 2015 in Hooked on Patterns
Did cognitive science come out of Einstein or Darwin?

Some Things Get Better With Age

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on February 26, 2015 in Off the Couch
My ninety year old aunt complains that she does not have much energy anymore. She doesn’t like it that she can’t remember what day it is, or the names of new acquaintances. But when it comes to emotional advice, there’s no one better to ask. Research has shown that as we age, not all of our cognitive abilities are on a steady downward path.

The 'Journey' of Psychotherapy

The “Journey” of Psychotherapy: On a voyage with an eating disordered patient. By Hilary Maddux, LCSW

Moving Toward Compassion in the Psychological Sciences

By Steven C. Hayes Ph.D. on February 17, 2015 in Get Out of Your Mind
We practice a kind of hypocrisy in the behavioral health area that’s not only embarrassing but counterproductive.