Psychoanalysis, a therapeutic technique and theory for understanding the human psyche and behavior first established by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), aims to resolve inner conflicts and strengthen the Ego. These goals are achieved through the analysis and exploration of the unconscious and the interpretation of symptoms, dreams and other expressions of the unconscious. Analysis is a treatment method that requires a considerable investment in time, money and mental energy by the analysand. Nonetheless, it is highly rewarding, as it can change one’s personality and, by extension, one’s life.
Classical psychoanalysis includes the use of a couch, on which the analysand lies undistracted, talks freely and makes free associations, while the analyst remains in the background, out of sight. During each session, the analyst listens and interrupts with observations, questions and interpretations, which lead to a better understanding of the patient’s personality. Sessions typically take place three to five times a week, given that analysis is a demanding, in-depth psychotherapeutic process that requires consistently frequent treatments over a long period of time. Whether a patient can respond to this method’s techniques and ultimately benefit from it is determined by the analyst during the preliminary sessions.