The aim of psychoanalytic therapy is to try to bring repressed feelings into conscious awareness 'to make the unconscious, conscious' where the patient can deal with them. The patient can work through any buried feelings they have.

There are a number of techniques that psychoanalytic therapists use to help the analysand recover repressed conflicts....

Free Association:

  • Involves the patient lying on the couch and talking about whatever comes to mind, regardless of whether it makes any sense, relates to an earlier point or is related to their problems.
  • The patient can say absolutely anything, regardless of whether it seems unimportant. The therapist does not react.
  • The patients collection of throughts provides the analyst with clues to help understand their unconscious conflicts.
  • Another related technique is known as word association - single words are presented to the patient who has to respond as quickly as possible the first word that comes into their mind. These words can include emotionally significant and common every day words.
  • The significance of the response is judges subjectively. Legnth of time before response is also analysed eg. long delay in response suggests resistance.

Dream Analysis:

  • Freud believed dreams were 'the royal road to the unconscious' that influences so much of our lives.
  • Freud believed that during sleep, the ego defences are lowered, allowing repressed material  to surface in a disguised, symbolic form. It's disguised in order to stop unacceptable thoughts from waking us up.
  • Anxieties and concerns are hidden (the latent content) in dreams, whereas the manifest content is what is immediately apparent in the dream - what we can recall.
  • The analyst guides the analysand in recalling and analysing their dreams, the goal being to reveal the latent content. Eg. dream of a collapsing bridge (manifest content) might symbolise anxiety about marriage (latent content).

Projective Tests:

  • Patient required to…


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