Psychoanalysis as a therapy method was introduced by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud more than a hundred years ago. Back then, its main goal was to understand how human mind operates. Freud was the first therapist who started to listen to his patients in a special way. He made a suggestion that human behavior is influenced by unconscious mind.
Using this theory and practicing his special listening, Freud gradually developed his method and called it Psychoanalysis. He was also the one who suggested that a patient can lie on the couch during a therapy session. He did that on purpose. He wanted to avoid eye contact. As it turned out, patients also felt more confident without looking at their therapist. Today, most of the psychoanalysts still use this approach.
The goal of psychoanalysis is to help a person realize the potential for happiness and success. Psychoanalysts encourage people to lead a healthier life by being aware of what motivates them. They also give their patients the opportunity to rework the way they operate, relate to their feelings and their past.
Psychoanalysis has three main aspects. It is a theory about human life and mental mind, the therapeutic process and a form of research.
A lot of things in our life are determined at our unconscious level. When a therapist listens to his patient, he tries to understand what problems from the past, written in a subconscious mind, influence his patient’s present life. Step by step, fact by fact he, sort of, builds the patient’s life story. In order to solve problems of the present, the patient needs to realize his problems of the past. The formula is: past experience equals present emotion.
Psychoanalysts only help people to understand themselves. They gently lead their patients to recognizing the problems that baffle them, but it is up to the patients to solve these problems. This way psychoanalysis teaches people to listen to themselves. Dreams can be a very important element of that listening. Freud himself called them “the royal road to the unconscious.” Dreams can help us uncover our fears, desires, and secret hopes.
The last, but not least function of psychoanalysis is its ability to answer questions about peculiarities of human mind’s operation. Sigmund Freud formed a theory and tested it in practice. Many scientists still use this theory and conduct their research based on it.