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  • 1.  An electrical impulse is triggered from the cell of one neuron which travels down the axon to the end.
  • 2.    At the end it releases a neurotransmitter that is found in the terminal buttons at the end of the axon.
  •  3.    The neurotransmitter has to cross the synaptic gap to get to the dendrites of the next neuron to continue the message.
  •  4.    The neurotransmitter, released by the impulse, goes into the synaptic gap – where it could be taken up by the dendrites or could be lost.
  •  5.    If the receptors at the end of the dendrites of the next neuron are ‘suitable’ to receive the neurotransmitter that is in that gap, then the chemical gets picked up.
  • 6.    The neurotransmitter sets off an electrical signal (by changing the chemical balance at the receptor) and then it drops back into the synaptic gap where it can be taken back up to be used again.
  •  7.    The change in the chemical balance triggers an electrical impulse from the cell body, which then travels down to the end of the axon
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What Is A Psychoanalyst?

Most psychoanalysts work with people with mental health issues. Sometimes they work with someone who is having problems with their relationships or managing their life, rather than someone diagnosed with a mental illness.

There are different types of psychotherapy including cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), humanistic therapy, general counselling, and hypnotherapy, but psychoanalysis is specific to Freud’s ideas.  

The aim of psychoanalysis is to uncover unconscious wishes and desires to find the reasons for the patient’s problems, which will help to solve them. 

Psychoanalysts listen and observe, focusing on the emotions that the patient shows.  They look at both verbal and non-verbal information and record information from each session carefully. 

Having gained the information, the psychoanalyst then helps the person to understand their emotions.  ‘Making the unconscious conscious’ aims to release underlying issues, freeing the person from the behaviour causing the problem. 

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Psycholoanalyst Treatment

  • The client usually undergoes analysis about 4 times a week, (each session lasts about an hour) 
  •  The analysis can go on for a long time and takes place in a quiet, comfortable room, so that the client can relax and speak more freely. The client usually sits on a couch with the analysts out of sight so as to no affect the client’s flow of information. Treatment cost at least £50 per session and is not usually available on the NHS.
  • During dream analysis the client describes and talks about their dreams (as well as showing emotions which are noted).  The analyst considers the manifest content and then draws out symbols to uncover the latent content.  The psychoanalyst uses other information from free association, which adds detail to the dream analysis in order to help the client. 
  • Dream analysis is not always used as the main focus.  Transference and countertranference have more focus, revealing things about the client just as other methods do. 
  • Transference describes the way a client will transfer their emotions – love, hate, anger – on to the analyst, who must be prepared for this. 
  • Countertransference is the word that is used for the way an analyst is likely, in turn; to transfer their own feelings back onto the client again.  
  • By recognising which emotions are being transferred onto them, the analyst can find out what emotions are involved in any possible problems that the client has.
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How To Become A Psychoanalyst

  • Most psychoanalysts work for themselves in private clinics. 
  • To be a psychoanalyst you need to able to listen carefully to people and observe them.You must be able to build a strong relationship with your clients without being judgemental about them.  You must also be able to detach yourself from their problems; training helps psychoanalysts to do this.
  • To become a psychoanalyst you have a degree or the equivalent of a degree and then undertake training that is approved by the International Psychoanalytic Association. .The training lasts for 4 years and is part time.The person being trained must undergo psychoanalysis themselves for 4 or 5 50 minute sessions a week.
  • The final part of the training is the psychoanalysis of 2 patients whilst being supervised by a qualified psychoanalysis where you see clients for 50 minutes each day for 4 or 5 days a week.  This lasts for two years and starts in the second year.  A second client is seen in the third year and the analysis of this client lasts for a year.
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Sleep Disorders

  • Research has shown that without REM sleep for a prolonged period of time (about 2 weeks) we experience disorientation, memory difficulties, illusions, and paranoia.
  • Rats that have been kept awake have died!  It is the REM part of the sleep cycle that is really important and so sleeping problems are taken seriously.  Sleep laboratories and departments study sleep.
  • Problems with sleep can arise from psychological problems, or physiological problems.
  • Psychological problems are to do with the brain and mind.
  • Physiological problems are to do with body.

Primary sleep disorders are not related to any other problem but are problems in themselves, such as going to sleep and problems waking up.

Secondary sleep disorders stem from another problem, such as pain or jet lag, or stress.

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Treatment of Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorder clinics are involved in the assessment and diagnosis of sleep problems.  Blood testing can be used to see if there is a genetic link for someone who has narcolepsy.

Observation and other measures can also help with diagnosis.  An EEG can be used to study a person’s sleep cycles.  Researchers watch and record REM, or watch the restlessness an individual exhibits.  The person’s temperature may also be monitored.

 Many sleep clinics use a holistic approach which means that they take into account the person’s lifestyle as well to gain an overall picture.

Medication such as benzodiazepines is prescribed for sleeping behaviour disorders.

CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) encourages the individual to look at their thinking and perhaps change how they perceive things as well as change their behaviour.

Acupuncture involves inserting needles in certain related parts on the body and can be used to help the body clock to readjust when the sleep-wake cycle is out of step.

Hypnotherapy can be used to help clients relax in the case of insomnia and parasomnias.

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