Psychoanalytic Therapy - Basic Tenets

The idea that some mental processes, such as motives, desires, and memories are not available to awareness or conscious introspection. It is often referred...

Discuss the basic tenets of psychoanalytic therapy.

Psychoanalytic or psychodynamic psychotherapy draws on theories and practices of analytical psychology and psychoanalysis. It is a therapeutic process which helps patients understand and resolve their problems by increasing awareness of their inner world and its influence over relationships both past and present. It differs from most other therapies in aiming for deep seated change in personality and emotional development.

Basic Tenets of Psychoanalytic Therapy

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is based on a number of tenets. These include:

  1. The Unconscious: The idea that some mental processes, such as motives, desires, and memories are not available to awareness or conscious introspection. It is often referred to as unconscious mental functioning or unconscious processing. Unconscious forms the largest part of the human psyche. It is not within our awareness, but can be explored indirectly through psychoanalysis. The two key drives are Eros (Libido or Life drive) and Thanatos (Aggression or Death drive).
  2. Defense mechanism: While some mental processes are out of our awareness, this is a process in which people are also motivated to push threatening thoughts or feelings from awareness. Intrapsychic conflict between Id and SuperEgo leads to anxiety. Ego defence mechanisms are normal and healthy methods to mediate this conflict by denying or distorting reality to protect the fragile balance of the psyche. Includes repression, denial, projection, displacement, sublimation, reaction formation and compensation.
  3. Developmental Perspective: Childhood relationships with caregivers are seen as playing a role in shaping current relationships. The theory is probabilistic in regards to this relationship. The developmental perspective is covered in the psychosexual and psychosocial stages of development laid out in psychoanalysis.
  4. Individual or Personal meaning of events: Psychodynamic clinicians are interested in the patient’s phenomenological experience – how the patient experiences himself, important others, the world in general. In this way the psychodynamic clinicians are focused on what is called schema or schemata in CBT terminology. They are seen as having explicit, conscious and implicit unconscious aspects.
  5. Transference: The tendency to unwittingly construct and create, through an active but unconscious process, the pattern of imagined and real past relationships with an important person. The creation of the transference derives from the patient. Most often, the patient “creates” the transference out of an active, though unconscious, aspect of repeating a past experience.
  6. Counter-transference: The experience of transference by analysts and therapists. The analyst’s awareness and attention to countertransference permits the analyst/therapist to have a fuller appreciation of the drama of the patient’s life. The analyst does not act on the countertransference but rather uses her awareness of these feelings as further information to inform the understanding of the patient’s world.
  7. Resistance: It has two aspects, viz.
    1. Neutrality: The stance which the analyst/therapist takes in which he or she does not express personal preferences to the patient and does not ally himself or herself with important dimensions of the patient’s conflict.
    2. Abstinence: the analyst avoids gratifying the patient’s wishes, whatever those might be—praise or punishment—direction or to be left alone.
Freud is considered the father of Psychoanalysis. And his technique forms the base of the psychoanalytic therapy, also known as the talking cure. The psychoanalytic psychotherapy is based on a number of tenets viz. The Unconscious, Defense Mechanisms, Developmental Perspective, Individual or Personal meaning of events, Transference, Counter-transference and Resistance.

If you found this useful, do remember to like Psychology Learners on Facebook and subscribe by email.

For 'SuperNotes' click here.

For Free eBook previews click here.

For other IGNOU MAPC material click here.

For IGNOU related information and material click here.

IGNOU Students - please visit the FREE IGNOU Help Center for latest updates.
IGNOU Solved Assignments: Q1 - MPCE 013 PsychoTherapeutic Methods - MPCE 013/ASST/TMA/2015-16
Start the discussion!
Comment using Facebook
What others like...

Are you a Mental Health Leader?

If you are a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, therapist, educator or a mental health institution administrator we can help you improve your client satisfaction and generate higher revenues.

Contact Us

The Real Happiness Center

With a focus on positive psychology and passion for spreading happiness in the world, The Real Happiness Center is helping people find out what happiness means to them, and how they can achieve it.