You can trace back the roots of psychoanalytic therapy to the infamous psychologist Sigmund Freud. The foundation of psychoanalytic therapies is psychoanalysis or psychodynamic theory. Psychoanalytic therapy and its theory underline the dynamics of personality development and are widely used to uncover the working relationship of the conscious and unconscious mind and its impact on your emotions, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
Psychoanalytic therapy falls under psychoanalysis. It emphasizes that our feelings, motives, and behavior are governed by past experiences and memories stored in the unconscious mind. Psychoanalytic therapy aims to uncover repressed emotions, thoughts, and experiences to help resolve your inner conflicts.
Psychoanalytic therapy is a widely used technique for individuals suffering emotionally and experiencing psychological pain. The benefits of psychoanalytic therapy techniques, or psychoanalysis, extend to people with depression, schizophrenia, emotional trauma, or self-destructive behavior patterns.
Let’s now take a look at the role of online therapy in psychoanalytic therapy techniques.
How Does Online Psychoanalytic Therapy Work?
The aim of psychoanalytic therapy is to get a deeper insight into your unconscious conflicts and self-awareness about your feelings and motives. Self-awareness often leads to the alleviation of symptoms. Furthermore, psychoanalytic therapy seeks to assist you in developing internal psychological resources and increased ability for dealing with psychological difficulties that have caused emotional anguish. You can accomplish this by facing concerns that have been unintentionally suppressed but continue to impact your life and finding healthy methods to cope with them.
It is a therapist-client interaction in which the purpose is to assist the client in healing after discussing repressed memories, unconscious desires, and relationship concerns. Perhaps you have an unsolved conflict with your parents or a sibling. The relationships you developed as a child shape who you are today, and so psychoanalytic therapy involves discussing your relationship with your parents and how it evolved through your life. There may have been a traumatic event that damaged that relationship and caused emotional problems.
When you talk freely to your therapist, they look for patterns of maladaptive behaviors that hint at repressed emotions and desires. These indicate that you are, in some way, stuck and need help to break the vicious chains that hold you down.
How Is Psychoanalytic Therapy Different From Other Psychotherapies?
Other psychotherapies deal with the ego or the conscious mind. In contrast, psychoanalytic therapy emphasizes the unconscious mind – home to your repressed emotions and desires. Other psychotherapies address the problem directly, whereas psychoanalytic therapy addresses it indirectly. Furthermore, psychoanalytic therapy aims to restore your relationship with your sexuality. In contrast, other psychotherapies focus more on social norms and regulations.
For example, psychoanalytic therapy for depression may focus on what your experience of depression is and what underlying mechanisms allow it to thrive, while other forms of therapy may focus more on how you think and behave in relation to your symptoms. The same is true for psychoanalytic therapy for anxiety and other mental disorders or issues.
Psychotherapists utilize their relationship with you to significantly positively affect your decision-making, teach coping mechanisms, change your attitudes or thoughts into healthier ones, and change how you interact with others. Psychoanalysts, on the other hand, use their relationship with you to assist you in reorganizing your relationship with yourself.
Lastly, other psychotherapy techniques follow a formal structure, while psychoanalytic therapy is without a rigid structure.
What Are Online Psychoanalytic Therapy Techniques?
Psychoanalytic therapy uses a couple of main techniques. Since these deal with repressed emotions and behavior, sometimes even unknown to the client, the therapy style is non-rigid and free-flowing. The following are the types of psychoanalytic therapy techniques used in psychoanalytic therapy:
Free association in psychoanalytic therapy includes helping the individual freely express whatever pops up in their mind without restriction or criticism from the therapist. It attempts to reach the most painful and crucial repressed memory via an uninterrupted flow of thought flow.
The therapist pays much attention to the clients' spontaneous associations, looking for deeper messages and slips of the tongue, popularly known as Freudian slips, which may indicate hidden issues. They also observe any lapses in the free association that might hint at the resurfacing of suppressed, anxiety-inducing information. They assist the client in gaining greater understanding by detecting and pointing out unconscious information as it surfaces. In traditional psychoanalysis, the client participates in the free association while laying on a sofa, with the therapist seated behind them, out of sight.
The following is a short example of a Freudian slip: suppose you recently ended your relationship with Tom, your partner. You're trying to go on dates despite your heartbreak, and your mind is still secretly preoccupied with Tom. In a psychoanalytic therapy session, your therapist asks, “How did your date go?” While explaining to them about your meeting, instead of mentioning the new person, you accidentally call them Tom. Your therapist will ask why you mentioned Tom, and you’ll be able to voice your surfacing feelings and thoughts around the separation.
Dreams, according to Freud, are “the royal road to the unconscious” and a way for people to communicate hidden desires and impulses that are too dangerous to bring up in waking moments. As a result, dream analysis plays a vital role in psychoanalytic therapy.
The therapist invites the client to reflect on their dreams, stating whatever springs to mind while they do so. The therapist can then assist them in looking beyond the evident significance of the dream to the underlying metaphoric meaning (latent content), which can reveal unconscious motives and desires.
The following is an example of dream interpretation in psychoanalytic therapy, as mentioned in Freud’s book, The Interpretation of Dreams. Dreams about the loss of a parent, sibling, or child are common. Freud treats such dreams with the notion that it expresses a desire that the dreamer wishes to have fulfilled. If the dream offers no opportunity for the observer to be impacted emotionally by the loss, it doesn’t imply that the dreamer intends for anyone to die. Rather, it means the dreamer desires to see the person who has passed away.
Imagine you meet a new neighbor who has an uncanny physical resemblance to your ex. You then subconsciously assign your ex's personality to this new individual, expecting them to behave similarly.
In psychoanalytic therapy, the therapist serves as a blank slate, enabling clients to project unconscious emotions toward someone important in their life, such as a parent, onto their therapist. Through transference, the client learns to relate to the therapist the way they’ve related to individuals in their past, reliving repressed emotions associated with those relationships.
The therapist doesn’t attempt to avoid transference. Instead, they’re actively looking for it and interpreting the significance of these emotions to assist the client in becoming more conscious of how past relationships may impact how they operate in the present.
Is Online Psychoanalytic Therapy Effective?
A 2011 meta-analysis indicates that long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (LTPP) appears to be more successful than less intense types of psychotherapy in treating complex mental illnesses.
Another article that looked into LTPP on a broader scale analyzed 23 studies with 1,053 individuals. It was found that LTPP was much more successful than shorter types of psychotherapy in addressing issues and overall personality functioning.
These findings give us insight into the effectiveness of psychoanalytic therapy. The benefits of psychoanalytic therapy are many. For starters, it emphasizes emotions and explores avoidance. It also assists you in exploring your relationships in a new light.
If you want to get help, you can consider online therapy for its many benefits. Online therapy does not require traveling and is an excellent option for those who are constantly on the go. Because online counseling sessions do not require the therapist to rent an office space, it is less expensive and more accessible.
A good internet connection is all that's needed for online therapy sessions. Online therapy sessions are more convenient since you can attend them from any place of your choosing. Furthermore, online counseling allows you to communicate with any therapist, regardless of how far they live.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Psychoanalytic therapy techniques are known for their commitment to the unconscious and their role in our lives. The best part about psychoanalysis is the confrontation of the avoided and repressed thoughts and thoughts.
Online therapy may assist you in uncovering the repressed emotions in your life and understanding how they affect you in the present. If you can't discuss your repressed emotions and thoughts with family or friends, you can do so in psychoanalytic therapy sessions via online therapy.