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What is Psychoanalysis? 


Shakespeare wisely realized, “This above all, to thine own self be true”.

This is at the heart of psychoanalysis both as a method of treatment and as a theory of how our minds work. What we call symptoms or problems in living can generally be understood as expressions of the ways in which people are struggling to live in connection to their truer selves. The closer we can be with who we really are the more satisfaction we can get out of life, or as Freud put it to love and work as fully as possible.

Psychoanalysis differs from other approaches in its foundational emphasis in the importance of personal history and development in the shaping of who we are and how this influences us in constructive and problematic ways. It is grounded in the premise that we who do not take the past into account are compelled to repeat it in the form of patterns of relating to our worlds.

Guided by a framework aimed at understanding the whole person, psychoanalytic treatment offers a unique path to explore our deeper or unconscious selves so that we can actualize our potential to be the best we can be. Whether we struggle with depression, anxiety, substance use, relationship difficulties, job stress and so on,
psychoanalytic treatment has been shown to be generally more life changing than other approaches.

Psychoanalysis has itself richly evolved over its one hundred twenty year history since the pioneering work of Sigmund Freud, while still maintaining its focus on unconscious, developmentally rooted processes that continue to keep us from actualizing the kind of life we want to live.

The psychoanalysis of today has built upon this foundation such that we have far more to offer people in need. Contemporary treatment involves a process of active engagement between the clinician and those of us coming for help whether children, adolescents, adults, couples, families or groups. In this way we have found psychoanalytic work ever more alive and responsive to the people we are here to facilitate creating the meaningful and enduring change they seek and deserve.

Venice by Richard Hansen, PhD, ABPP

Rome by Monica Carsky, PhD

(c) Copyright 2018 Section I - Psychoanalyst Practitioners of Division 39, American Psychological Association

Psychoanalyst Practitioners

PO Box 41668

Phoenix, AZ  85080

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