February 4, 2022 4 Comments Self Development emmahjoy

What is Psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory that emerged from the works of a famous psychologist known as Sigmund Freud. The influence of the theory resulted into it being considered as a therapeutic technique and later psychologists used it in their practices. It is an approach of therapy that falls under the psychodynamic theory.

Core Elements of Psychoanalysis

  • The Conscious mind. The theory operates with the notion that people posses three levels of consciousness that influence their thoughts, feelings and memories.
  • Influences from the past. The theory believes that an individual is highly influenced by their past. Therefore, the therapist focuses on analyzing the past in order to deal with the present.
  • Defense Mechanisms. The theory believes that an individual tends to protect themselves from both external and internal forces that bring them stress.
  • Free Association. The has an element referred to as Free association, a therapeutic process that is unique to psychoanalysts. In this practice, the therapist allows the patient to say whatever comes in their mind. The practice hopes that the patient would end up sharing their repressed memories or events in their unconscious mind.
  • Catharsis. Psychoanalysis also uses Catharsis in their treatment. It is often known as the talking cure.
  • Freudian Slip. Sigmund Freud suggested that there is nothing like a slip of the tongue. One speaks from their thoughts and feelings that they had unconsciously withheld.
  • Personality development. Freud believed that there are components that influences our personality and he referred to them as the Id, Ego and Superego. In the development process, a child also goes through what he referred to as the psychosexual stages of development.

Levels of consciousness

Sigmund Freud believed that there were three levels of consciousness.

  1. The conscious

The part of the brain that deals with the present feelings, memories and thoughts an individual is experiencing

2. The Sub-conscious

It consists of the memories in our past that can be easily brought into the present. For example, when you navigate your house in the dark, you tend to use a preexisting memory of where things are situated.

3. Unconscious

It refers to the events, feelings, memories and emotions from our past past that affect our present that we are not aware off. For example, one might an individual for the very first time and have a strong resentment towards them. Freud explains this by saying that the individual you just met tends to remind you of someone from the past who wronged you however, the memory is not in the conscious.

Defense Mechanisms

There are several defense Mechanisms that an individual might engage in to protect themselves. In most cases the person has no idea that they are using the defense mechanisms. Here is an in-depth discussion of the defense mechanisms.

Examples include;

  1. Repression
  2. Regression
  3. Avoidance
  4. Reaction formation
  5. Projection
  6. Acting out
  7. Displacement
  8. Sublimation
  9. Denial

Psychosexual Stages of development

Sigmund Freud stated that a child goes through several stages of development influenced by their libido. At different age groups the child has a different erogenous zone. More of the psychosexual stages of development are discussed in this link.

Examples of the psychosexual stages of development

  1. oral stage – Erogenous zone is in the mouth. Occurs from birth to 1 year.
  2. Anal stage- Erogenous Zone is the Anal. Occurs from 1 to 3 years.
  3. Phallic stage- Erogenous zone is the genitals. Occurs from 3 to 6 years.
  4. Latent stage- A period where there is no significant development. Between 6 years to Puberty
  5. Genital stage- Erogenous zone is in the genitals. Occurs from puberty to death
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