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Psychoanalytic Therapy

What Is Psychoanalytic Therapy?


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 behaviours.


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 influence.


What Are the Downsides to Psychoanalytic Therapy?

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.



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