Monday, February 13, 2006
Many people are unfamiliar with psychoanalysis and get a glimpse of it in caricatured form through movies, television or books. In these mediums, psychoanalysis is often presented as a stilted experience, where a couch-lying patient drones on about emotions and feelings to a stoic therapist who is busily taking notes. The other polar extreme is that the analyst, fatigued from his or her patient's narrative, falls asleep .
The misconceptions go even further where mental health professionals who work within other psychological treatment modalities are often misinformed about the mechanics of psychoanalysis, dismissing it as if it were a singular homogenized school of thought. Many are not even aware that research and empirical studies have shown that psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy are successful treatments .
Psychoanalysis is grounded on the observation "that individuals are often unaware of many of the factors that determine the emotions and behavior. These unconscious factors may create unhappiness, sometimes in the form of recognizable symptoms and at other times as troubling personality traits, difficulties in work or in love relationships, or disturbances in mood and self-esteem. Because these forces are unconscious, the advice of friends and family, the reading of self-help books, or even the most determined efforts of will, often fail to provide relief. Psychoanalytic treatment demonstrates how these unconscious factors affect current relationships and patterns of behavior, traces them back to their historical origins, shows how they have changed and developed over time, and helps the individual to deal better with the realities of adult life. Analysis is an intimate partnership, in the course of which the patient becomes aware of the underlying sources of his or her difficulties not simply intellectually, but emotionally - by re-experiencing them with the analyst " .
Psychoanalysis has evolved over the last 100 years from Freud's initial model, and it has grown to include many different and compelling schools of thought. It is a rich, deep and involved process. It offers a modern vitality and introspection that many may not realize. And most of all, it needs to be celebrated as a viable option for the treatment of psychological symptoms .
 Serani, D. (2002). Understanding psychoanalysis. The Participant-Observer, 4(1): 4-6.
American Academy of Psychoanalysis
American Psychoanalytic Association
American Psychological Association: Division 39 - Psychoanalysis
American Psychological Association: Division 39 - Section: Psychoanalytic Reserarch Society
American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians
Argentine Psychoanalytic Association
Asociacición Psicoanálitica Mexicana
Association for Child Psychoanalysis
Association for the Study of Dreams
Australian Psychoanalytic Society
Brisbane Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, Australia
Buenos Aires Psychoanalytic Association
Canadian Psychoanalytic Society
Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies
International Psychoanalytical Association
Italian Psychoanalytic Society
Mexican Psychoanalytic Association
Psychoanalytic Federation of Latin America
Sociedade Psicanalítica de Porto Alegre
The Swedish PsychoAnalytical Society
*Thanks to my many blogfriends who have suggested a post be written about psychoanalysis *