The Psychoanalytic Model Of Therapy

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The psychoanalytic model, formulated by Freud, locates the origin of abnormal functioning in emotionally painful childhood experiences or events that have resulted in arrested personality development. As an adult the person is unable to resolve unconscious conflicts and impulses except by maladaptive defense mechanisms such as excessive repression.

Psychoanalytic therapy-or psychoanalysis, as it is called-is based on verbal techniques. Its basic purpose is to solve psychological problems by bringing the unconscious conflicts into the conscious mind, where they may be confronted and resolved. The focus is on underlying ways of experiencing things and thinking about them rather than on behavior. Psychoanalysis aims to change the client’s personality rather than just certain behaviors. In Freudian terms, psychoanalysis is designed to strengthen the ego. increase the awareness of the id, and bring the superego under control.

Psychoanalysis is usually an involved process that takes years to complete. The role of the psychoanalyst is largely passive, more the of a guide and interpreter than a teacher. One of the major problems the analyst must deal with is the emotional resistance of the client to the painful awareness that an emotional problem exists. Therefore, analysis must do more than uncover the emotional origins of problems; if therapy is to be effective, it must enable the person to acknowledge and confront these problems.

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