“The mind is like an iceberg; it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.” – Sigmund Freud.
This famous metaphor quoted by Sigmund Freud speaks strongly about psychoanalysis. You can see the tip of the iceberg but not really know how large it is on the surface. Psychoanalysis explains that all human beings have unconscious feelings, thoughts, memories, and desires that strongly influence how we act, speak, behave or feel.
This is the Theory of Psychoanalysis which was developed by Sigmund Freud, the Father of psychoanalysis. Through the Psychoanalytic Theory, psychoanalytic therapy was derived. Psychoanalysis therapy is now known as a helpful mental health intervention to be used to decipher repressed emotions and discover past experiences.
Today, we will dig deeper into the Psychoanalytic Theory and the Psychoanalysis Talk Therapy and how it is used in Clinical Psychology for mental health problems.
What Is the Psychoanalytic Theory?
In the Psychoanalytic Theory, it is explained that human behavior is influenced by three components that influence our inner development and personality: id, ego, and superego. These are a person’s inner drives, unconscious intention, and unresolved childhood issues. Here’s what you need to know:
- Id: The id is a part of a human’s personality that seeks instant gratification, urges, desires, wants, and needs. These are often unconscious, unorganized, illogical, instinctual urges that lack morals just to fulfill that satisfaction. When the id is not satisfied, the person experiences anxiety, anger, or become tense. For example, a child is having tantrums because he/she wanted a lollipop; that is the id influencing that behavior.
- Ego: The ego is a part of your conscious mind and is defined by how the person views himself. It is often associated with your self-image, self-esteem, self-confidence, or self-awareness. An example of ego is when you acknowledge to yourself that you are the smartest person in your workplace or you’re better than everyone else.
- SuperEgo: The superego is considered as a person’s rightful and just psyche. The superego keeps the id in check, controls impulses, check-in with morals and conscience. For example, you’re craving to buy these new shoes, that’s your id acting. But then your superego tells you that you don’t need that new shoes because you need to save money.
So how do these three human personality components help with mental health talks? Psychotherapy aims to find the balance within the three, to have a healthy personality. Sigmund Freud believed that the imbalance with these three might lead to Maladaptive personality traits. Maladaptive behavior may affect a person’s coping mechanism, social relationships, and overall mental health. The goal of Psychoanalysis is to find balance, not perfection.
What Is Psychoanalysis Therapy?
The main goal of psychoanalysis is to gain insight into a person’s inner thoughts, emotions, and past experiences. These insights gathered with the help of a therapist can either be conscious or unconscious. Psychoanalysis therapy is built from the idea that a person’s actions and behaviors stemmed from childhood memories lodged in the unconscious mind.
That’s where you’ll find a therapist’s job helpful: to explore the unconscious. These are used to study the reason behind a person’s behavior, emotions, and relationships with other people. Psychoanalysis therapy uses several techniques, the most common techniques to explore a person’s unconscious are Dream Analysis, Free Association, and Freudian Slips.
Types of Psychoanalysis Therapy
Psychoanalysis is not a one-time thing, and it cannot completely cure a person’s troublesome emotions and thoughts. It takes time to explore the human mind to explore the root of a person’s actions through early childhood experience. Here are the methods of psychoanalysis therapy and how it is done.
Many of us ask, do dreams really have meaning? In psychology, dreams have interpretations or meanings. It can be an underlying motivation, implication, or representation. Dreams are used in psychotherapy to explore the unconscious mind to reveal your true desires. For instance, dreaming of falling off a cliff may signify that something in your life may not be on the right track. It can be related to your career, family relationships, or marriage, and it may need self-exploration to make changes in your life.
Another technique used by psychoanalysts is free association. During a free association session, the client speaks about anything that comes to his/her mind. The client is uninterrupted while speaking; sometimes, the client lies down on a couch staring at the ceiling rather than facing the therapist. This way, the client speaks freely of whatever comes to mind with lesser pressure.
The therapist gathers these free associated thoughts in an attempt to explore painful feelings and repressed memories. Another form of Free Association is when the therapist says one word, and the client spontaneously responds with the first thoughts that come to mind. The main objective of free association is to avoid resistance during therapy, meaning there are no filters to what the patient says so the therapist can explore deeply the unconscious.
The Freudian Slip, or in other words, is called the ‘slip of the tongue.’ Sigmund Freud believed that the words that slipped out of your tongues are not by accident, rather it is what is hidden in your unconscious. But of course, it is not applicable for all situations. For example, a child calling his/her teacher ‘mom’ may just be a pure mistake because the child spends more time with his/her mother.
A great example of a Freudian Slip is when a friend tells you that she loves the man she’s dating now named Ken but rather says “I’m so in love with John”, which is her ex-boyfriend. This may mean that in her unconscious, she is still in love with John, her ex-boyfriend, or for some instances, it’s an innocent glitch as a force of habit.
Where to Find a Good Psychotherapist?
Psychotherapy or talk therapy is helpful for the management of mental illness symptoms. Individuals who are experiencing anxiety disorders, depression, personality disorders, eating disorders can benefit from Psychotherapy. Of course, this is in combination with other forms of treatment, such as medications. If you’re searching for a psychotherapist for you, a loved one, or a family member, Kentucky Counseling Center can help you. Schedule an appointment online now.