Psychoanalytic therapy looks at how the unconscious
mind influences thoughts and behaviors. Psychoanalysis
frequently involves looking at early childhood
experiences in order to discover how these
events might have shaped the individual and
how they contribute to current actions. People
undergoing psychoanalytic therapy often meet
with their therapist at least once a week
and may remain in therapy for a number of
weeks, months or years.
How Does Psychoanalytic Therapy Work?
Psychoanalytic therapists generally spend
time listening to patients talk about their
lives, which is why this method is often
referred to as "talk therapy."
The therapy provider will look for patterns
or significant events that may play a role
in the client’s current difficulties.
Psychoanalysts believe that childhood events
and unconscious feelings, thoughts and motivations
play a role in mental illness and maladaptive
Psychoanalytic therapy also makes use of
other techniques including free association,
role play and dream interpretation.
What Are the Benefits of Psychoanalytic Therapy?
While this type of therapy has many critics
who claim that psychoanalytic therapy is
too time-consuming, expensive and generally
ineffective, this treatment has several benefits
as well. The therapist offers an empathetic
and nonjudgmental environment where the client
can feel safe in revealing feelings or actions
that have led to stress or tension in his
or her life. Oftentimes, simply sharing these
burdens with another person can have a beneficial
What Are the Downsides to Psychoanalytic
Costs are often cited as the biggest downside
of psychoanalytic therapy. Many clients are
in therapy for years, so the financial and
time costs associated with this treatment
can be very high. Critics also point out
that the effectiveness of psychoanalytic
therapy can also be questioned.