Does mental health therapy include psychoanalysis?

Yes, mental health therapy does include psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis, the oldest form of psychotherapy, encourages you to analyze events, emotions, thoughts, and feelings in the past and connect them to behavior and feelings in the present. It was developed by Sigmund Freud in the first half of the twentieth century and is also known as Freudian therapy. Therapy is practiced four or five times a week and the person lies on a couch and vocalizes whatever comes to mind - a technique known as free association. The objective of therapy is to understand the past in an attempt to adapt to the relationships and in work environment in the present.

Psychoanalysts are highly trained mental health professionals who obtain an additional credential after gaining their advanced degrees and licenses to practice. Psychoanalytic training includes several years of additional coursework, personal analysis of the therapist, and intensive supervision of the therapist's analytic cases. There are many active psychoanalytic institutes in the USA and worldwide. More and more research has been done in recent years that reveals long-term approaches like psychoanalysis yield effective results.

Like any clinical approach, psychoanalysis has evolved over the years and now includes contemporary developments of "classic" Freudian techniques. Some analysts use "the couch" for their clients -- others do not. But all psychoanalysts are interested in helping their clients understand themselves on a deeper level in order to give freedom and choices to their decisions about love, work, and life. Personal relationships and feelings are complicated, and psychoanalysis allows the time to more fully understand them -- with the goal of living a more conscious, fulfilled life.

Psychoanalysis is often a helpful approach for people who want to change enduring personality traits in themselves. Short-term therapy approaches are often not intensive enough to get to deeper personality and character issues. But since they are mental health professionals, psychoanalysts can also help clients with shorter-term, more limited issues.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.