Psychoanalysis is, both, a theory of the human mind, and a therapeutic practice. It was founded by Sigmund Freud between 1885 and 1939, and continues to be developed by psychoanalysts all over the world. Psychoanalytic treatment is offered at the frequency of at least four times a week, and the work is carried out while the patient uses the couch and the analyst sits behind it.
This particular practice was introduced by Freud, who thought that the analyst’s body language and facial expressions could interrupt and inhibit the patient’s free-association. In other words, the analyst’s seating arrangement seeks to invite the patient’s thoughts, feelings and fantasies while minimizing the experience of fear, guilt, and shame.
Symptoms such as anxieties, inhibitions and depressions are frequently the signs of inner conflicts. These lead to difficulties in personal and professional relationships, and when left untreated, they can have a considerable negative impact. The roots of these problems often go deeper, which is why they prove to be irresolvable without the help of psychoanalysts. Accordingly, psychoanalysis has the longest and most demanding training of any kind of psychotherapy. It is unique among the therapies in that training requires each analyst to undergo his or her own extensive personal treatment. This means that people who practice psychoanalysis should know, from their own experience, both what it feels like to be in psychoanalysis, and that it really works. The positive effects of psychoanalysis will last and lead to further growth long after the analysis has been terminated.