Frequently Asked Questions About Psychoanalysis

A lot of people have been struggling with ensuring mental and emotional positivity. Qualities such as self-confidence and self-esteem are getting more and more challenging to achieve.

In this day and age, there is an emphasis on mental health. For the most part, it is the key to develop confidence, good habits, and positive personality traits in every one of us.


Psychoanalysis works for different situations. It can work for those who feel like their personal mental and emotional burdens are more challenging to identify and understand. 

Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy (also known as talk therapy) roots in Sigmund Freud’s theoretical structure. 

Psychoanalysis is an alternative to the more common therapy methods through a unique modality. It taps into unconscious desires, feelings, and memories to interpret our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and perceptions in life.

Psychoanalysis can identify, process, and treat some of the leading mental health conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Phobias or Fears
  • Panic Attacks
  • Trauma
  • Doubts and Insecurities
  • Challenges in Sexuality
  • Self-destructive Behaviors
  • Negative Thinking

In therapy based on the psychoanalytic theory, mental health experts utilize the following approaches:

  • Free Association 

In this approach, the patient can freely communicate anything he can think of. A therapist’s usual technique is to state a list of words. The patient will need to attach certain descriptions that match or associate with the terms provided. 

  • Dream Analysis

In this approach, the patient shares recollections about significant or recent dreams. Freud believes that dreams are manifestations of reality. He says that dreams are desires which failed to surface to conscious thought.

Freud also acknowledges that dreams may be inaccurate or altered requiring expert interpretation and analysis.

  • Transference 

In this approach, the therapist aids the patient to identify certain thoughts and feelings associated with significant people from the past. This allows for the identification of particular psychological trigger points for destructive behavior. 

  • Interpretation 

In this approach, the therapist dives deep into the narratives and stories the patient shares. This is a thorough and highly detailed approach that attempts to understand and process how the patient views and responds to different situations.

It also seeks to understand how they manifest as a thought process and psychological state.

Below, we answer the most common questions asked when it comes to psychoanalysis.

Where did the psychoanalytic theory come from?

Psychoanalytic theory bases on the work of Sigmund Freud. He believed that the unconscious mind has a powerful effect on our lived experiences. Freud suggests that only by unearthing unconscious conflicts can one resolve emotional distress.

What is the main purpose of psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis seeks to bring unconscious desires, feelings, and memories to the surface. These materials form the id. It is the part of the mind designed to meet basic urges and needs. On the other hand, the ego is the part that makes decisions based on reason.

Meanwhile, the superego houses morality and higher principles. The psychoanalyst’s primary goal is to help you gain awareness of the id and enhance the ego’s functioning.

What is psychoanalysis in simple terms?

Psychoanalysis believes that the unconscious mind the shaping of shaping our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Conflicts that are operating at the unconscious level can result in emotional difficulties and mental illness.

It is the job of the psychoanalyst to bring those unconscious forces to the surface.

When was psychoanalysis first used?

In the 1800s, Freud worked with physician Josef Breuer. They developed a new treatment for individuals suffering from hysteria. They discovered that the severity of the patients’ symptoms decreased when they discussed traumatic events under hypnosis.

The book, Studies on Hysteria, published their findings in 1895. It has become a seminal document in psychoanalysis.

Why is psychoanalysis criticized?

Critics argue that psychoanalytic theory places too much importance on unconscious forces. They say that other identifiable factors also need attention. Critics mainly point out the lack of empirical evidence.

Freud’s ideas on sex and gender are also controversial. These continue to spark heated debates until today.


Does psychoanalysis really work?

Psychoanalysis may help women struggling with emotional difficulties. However, it may not be for everyone. The classical model is less relevant today. But many modern psychotherapy approaches take inspiration from psychoanalysis.

Therapists use psychoanalytic theories and techniques, together with medication and other therapy forms.

When should psychoanalysis end?

There is no one answer. Given its prolonged nature, the patient and psychoanalyst bond will likely be challenging to break. Typically, the treatment ends upon achieving the therapeutic goals.

How long does psychoanalysis take to work?

Psychoanalysis usually takes three to seven years before producing results. It takes a while to develop a bond with a therapist. The bond matters as it enables them to dig deep into the unconscious mind and resolve deep-seated difficulties.

Is Psychoanalysis used today?

Yes, but in varying forms. Some therapists practice select aspects of Freud’s teachings on top of other treatment modalities. It might be hard to find a provider observing classical psychoanalytic techniques.

What is wrong with psychoanalysis?

Freud’s model of the mind has gained little empirical support. Some of his ideas, like penis envy and the Oedipus complex, have stirred controversy. Even if some of his conclusions may not be as relevant today, Freud’s legacy lives on.

How is psychoanalysis done?

Psychoanalysis is a form of talk therapy. During a session, you can share your inner thoughts and feelings. It helps them identify recurrent mental patterns.

Through this, they gain insight into the unconscious forces that influences your emotions and behavior. Once you recognize these motivations and desires, it’s possible to learn healthier coping strategies.

What is the main focus in the study of personality?

The study of personality aims to create a person’s blueprint based on their values. It considers how they may respond to certain situations.

A psychologist should understand the various dimensions of a patient’s personality.  They also study the factors that affect how a person thinks, feels, and behaves.

What are the 4 types of personality?

The four personality types are

  1. Sanguine,
  2. Melancholic,
  3. Choleric, and
  4. Phlegmatic.

Sanguine persons are charismatic and outgoing. Meanwhile, melancholic individuals are more private and introspective. Choleric individuals are ambitious and goal-oriented, making them natural leaders. But a phlegmatic person is quiet and easy-going who keeps peace within a group.

Individuals present all four personality types. However, one or two temperaments may be more apparent than others.

What is personality example?

Your unique experiences and worldview inform your personality. Several online tests can help you assess your personality type. You can examine your core values and how you relate to other people to pin down your temperament.

What are the 5 main personality traits?

The big five personality traits function as a spectrum. A person can identify as one or the other end of an extreme. Openness describes a person’s imagination and willingness to take on challenges. Conscientiousness looks at how you approach a task.

Extraversion is characterized by sociability and charisma. Meanwhile, agreeableness emphasizes trust and kindness. Neuroticism is characterized by moodiness and emotional imbalances.


Sigmund Freud indeed left his mark in the field of Psychology and therapy. His insight and development of psychoanalysis bloomed into an entire category of its own.

Several notable treatment methods and therapeutic approaches have been developed through his framework. Through these developments, there are now more options to treat mental health disorders and their associated symptoms. 


Therapists still utilize psychoanalysis in various forms. Some have abandoned conventional psychoanalytic models. But continue to use the ideas and relationships established within the system.

Psychoanalysis has been criticized for its heavy use of unconscious forces. But psychologists and psychiatrists have grown to appreciate and utilize it from an academic and a practical application standpoint.

While psychoanalysis is not for all, there have been some successful cases of recovering from mental health problems thanks to psychoanalysis-based therapy.

From a research point of view, psychoanalysis and its founder are truly fascinating. Psychoanalysis goes deep into a person’s subconscious. It aims to construct a trend, pattern, or cause-and-effect relationship between aspects in life that could have originated from childhood.

Sigmund Freud is the founder of psychoanalysis and one of the first adopters of talk therapy. Moreover, he is one of the most memorable and influential psychologists of today.

His research into the id, ego, superego, interpretation of dreams, and psychosexual development are still textbook cases and studies in most psychology courses worldwide.

Notable psychologists who followed in his footsteps were Carl Jung, Erik Erikson, and Karen Horney. All of whom have also significantly contributed to the field of Psychology.

The enduring influence of Freud will be felt for decades to come. Psychoanalysis is as fascinating as it is applicable in today’s society. Consider psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy if you’re feeling lost, confused, or want more clarity in your life.