© 2019 Dr. Charles W. Washam, M.Div., M.Ed., MSW, D.Min.

Be comfortable enough to say everything.

Use your words, instead of acting out.

Re-experience your life story.

Make the unconscious conscious.

Be aware of obstacles and resistances.

Discharge tension constructively.

Metabolize your aggression, collaboratively.

Psychoanalysis is a process of self discovery as it unfolds within an intense therapeutic relationship. The psychoanalytic approach views symptoms and problems in daily life as manifestations of the patient’s inner-life, reflecting enduring patterns that developed to cope with earlier relationships or traumatic experiences. These patterns persist and determine the way the patient feels about himself, the way he attempts to get his needs met, and the way he interacts with other people. Current life situations trigger this old behavior and result in feelings and actions based in both the past and the present.
 
Freud developed the method of free association in which the patient is to say whatever comes to mind without censoring or amending the flow of memories or ideas. Because of the unconscious tendency of a patient to transfer emotions derived from significant relationships of early life to the therapist, the therapeutic relationship serves as a matrix in which new editions of old conflicts can be created, explored, and resolved. This relationship serves as a window into what goes well and what goes wrong in the patient’s other relationships. The therapist is not solely “hearing” about what causes the patient’s problems, but is rather experiencing them first hand in the therapy session.

 

Psychoanalytic therapy provides an effective treatment for a range of emotional disorders. Insight into past unconscious conflicts, as well as the experience of re-creating and then resolving those conflicts within the analytic relationship, are what makes the psychoanalytic approach effective and enduring. In this profound regard, it differs from most other therapies in focusing on the deep rooted change in one’s personality and emotional development. It is important to remember that “healing is profoundly more than a reversing of symptoms.”