Psychoanalysis, as a treatment, is a specific type of therapy in which the patient verbalizes thoughts, including free associations, fantasies and dreams, from which the analyst induces the unconscious conflicts causing the patient’s symptoms and character problems, and interprets them for the patient to create insight for resolution of the problems.
The central ground of psychoanalytic treatment is the concept of the unconscious determinants of behavior and the influence of the past on the present. These factors may be the source of considerable distress and unhappiness, sometimes in the form of recognizable symptoms and at other times as troubling personality traits, difficulties in work and/or in love relationships, or disturbances in mood and self-esteem.
The method is based on concepts concerning unconscious mental processes originally developed by Sigmund Freud and further developed throughout the past 100 years by a considerable number of experienced psychoanalysts who have followed.
Most of the psychoanalysts also apply their training in psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy, brief psychotherapy, group and family treatment, and in different areas such as medicine, psychiatry, clinical psychology, and education.
Child and adolescent psychoanalysis follows the same principles, but it is also based on the developmental processes that structure the mental apparatus, its psychodynamics, and its psychopathology considered as a developmental abnormality in the person of the child or adolescent.