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Overview :

In both psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy, the therapist does not tell the patient how to solve problems or offer moral judgments. The focus of treatment is exploration of the patient's mind and habitual thought patterns. Such therapy is termed non-directed. It is also insight-oriented, meaning that the goal of treatment is increased understanding of the sources of one's inner conflicts and emotional problems. The basic techniques of psychoanalytical treatment include:

CARL GUSTAV JUNG (1875–1961)

Carl Gustav Jung was born in Kesswil, Switzerland, on July 26, 1875, to a Protestant clergyman who moved his family to Basel when Jung was four. While growing up, Jung exhibited an interest in many diverse areas of study but finally decided to pursue medicine at the University of Basel and the University of Zurich, earning his degree in 1902. He also studied psychology in Paris. In 1903, Jung married Emma Rauschenbach, his companion and collaborator. The couple had five children.

Jung's professional career began in 1900 at the University of Zurich where he worked as an assistant to Eugene Blueler in the psychiatric clinic. During his internship, he and some co-workers used an experiment that revealed groups of ideas in the unconscious psyche which he named complexes. Jung sent his publication Studies in Word Association (1904) to Sigmund Freud after finding his own beliefs confirmed by Freud's work. Jung and Freud became friends and collaborators until 1913 when Jung's ideas began to conflict with Freud's. During the time following this split, Jung published Two Essays on Analytical Psychology (1916, 1917) and Psychological Types (1921). Jung's later work developed from the concepts in his Two Essays publication and he became known as a founder of modern depth psychology.

In 1944, Jung gave up his psychological practice and his explorations after he suffered a severe heart attack. Jung received honorary doctorates from numerous universities and in 1948 he founded the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. Jung died on June 6, 1961.

Therapist neutrality

Neutrality means that the analyst does not take sides in the patient's conflicts, express feelings about the patient, or talk about his or her own life. Therapist neutrality is intended to help the patient stay focused on issues rather than be concerned with the therapist's reactions. In psychoanalysis, the patient lies on a couch facing away from the therapist. In psychodynamic psychotherapy, however, the patient and therapist usually sit in comfortable chairs facing each other.

Free association

Free association means that the patient talks about whatever comes into mind without censoring or editing the flow of ideas or memories. Free association allows the patient to return to earlier or more childlike emotional states ( regress ). Regression is sometimes necessary in the formation of the therapeutic alliance. It also helps the analyst to understand the recurrent patterns of conflict in the patient's life.

Therapeutic alliance and transference

Transference is the name that psychoanalysts use for the patient's repetition of childlike ways of relating that were learned in early life. If the therapeutic alliance has been well established, the patient will begin to transfer thoughts and feelings connected with siblings, parents, or other influential figures to the therapist. Discussing the transference helps the patient gain insight into the ways in which he or she misreads or misperceives other people in present life.


In psychoanalytic treatment, the analyst is silent as much as possible, in order to encourage the patient's free association. However, the analyst offers judiciously timed interpretations, in the form of verbal comments about the material that emerges in the sessions. The therapist uses interpretations in order to uncover the patient's resistance to treatment, to discuss the patient's transference feelings, or to confront the patient with inconsistencies. Interpretations may be either focused on present issues ( dynamic ) or intended to draw connections between the patient's past and the present ( genetic ). The patient is also often encouraged to describe dreams and fantasies as sources of material for interpretation.

Working through

Working through occupies most of the work in psychoanalytic treatment after the transference has been formed and the patient has begun to acquire insights into his or her problems. Working through is a process in which the new awareness is repeatedly tested and tried on for size in other areas of the patient's life. It allows the patient to understand the influence of the past on his or her present situation, to accept it emotionally as well as intellectually, and to use the new understanding to make changes in present life. Working through thus helps the patient to gain some measure of control over inner conflicts and to resolve them or minimize their power.

Although psychoanalytic treatment is primarily verbal, medications are sometimes used to stabilize patients with severe anxiety, depression, or other mood disorders during the analysis.

The cost of either psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy is prohibitive for most patients without insurance coverage. A full course of psychoanalysis usually requires three to five weekly sessions with a psychoanalyst over a period of three to five years. A course of psychoanalytic psychotherapy involves one to three meetings per week with the therapist for two to five years. Each session or meeting typically costs between $80 and $200, depending on the locale and the experience of the therapist. The increasing reluctance of most HMOs and other managed care organizations to pay for long-term psychotherapy is one reason that these forms of treatment are losing ground to short-term methods of treatment and the use of medications to control the patient's emotional symptoms. It is also not clear as of 2003 that long-term psychoanalytically oriented approaches are more beneficial than briefer therapy methods for many patients. On the other hand, patients who can benefit from a psychoanalytic approach but cannot afford private fees may wish to contact the American Psychoanalytic Association, which maintains a list of analysts in training who offer treatment for reduced fees.


Some patients may need evaluation for possible medical problems before entering psychoanalysis because numerous diseases'including virus infections and certain vitamin deficiencies'have emotional side effects or symptoms. The therapist will also want to know whether the patient is taking any prescription medications that may affect the patient's feelings or ability to concentrate. In addition, it is important to make sure that the patient is not abusing drugs or alcohol.

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