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'Sigmund Freud, Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis'

International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) Congress, 1911 Weimer

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 What is psychoanalysis ?

Psychoanalysis is a science that explores the various dimensions, processes and layers of the psyche; it is an effective treatment technique for psychological questions, problems, disorders and exploration.

How was psychoanalysis born ?

The creation of psychoanalysis and its establishment as a discipline with the above mentioned characteristics was realized by the Viennese physician Sigmund Freud. Sigmund Freud continued his theoretical and technical studies on psychoanalysis from the 1890s up to his death in 1939. In this period the science of psychoanalysis has gone through constant evolution and progress. This progress and transformation have been carried further by generations of psychoanalysts who have owned up to this most valuable legacy after Freud’s death with great devotion and embraced the tradition steadfastly established by Freud. Thus, a discipline of psychoanalysis has been founded as we know it presently; in constant pursuit of research, creation and treatment with well-established, tested standards, at the service of humankind for over a century.

What kind of a technique is psychoanalytic treatment and what does it entail ?

The psychoanalyst and the person in analysis (the analysand) have at least three sessions per week. The analysand lies down on the couch during the sessions. The psychoanalyst sits outside the analysand’s visual periphery. During the 45 minute long sessions the analysand is expected to speak in “free associations” of everything that is going through his/her mind without any restriction, censoring or suppression. These associations constitute the material for psychoanalytic work. The psychoanalyst and analysand work together on these associations. In the most general terms, this is a process of interpretation.

According to the model of the psyche foreseen by psychoanalysis, the human mind consists of conscious, preconscious and unconscious layers. An important part of psychological problems result from conflicts in the unconscious. These conflicts are confined to the unconscious as they are cast out from the conscious by defenses. As the analysand speaks in free associations on the couch, certain associations that begin to appear in the preconscious, in addition to the thoughts, emotions and images from the conscious level begin to emerge. These are the derivatives of what is being kept in the unconscious.

The environment that enables the expression of these derivatives is the continuity and intensity of psychoanalysis; namely the numerous consecutive sessions taking place at short intervals. Furthermore, one should remember the length of the treatment: the process takes at least four to five years. Other important characteristics which enable the expression of the unconscious are the anonymity of the psychoanalyst (the analyst’s identity and personality are not disclosed openly), and the analyst’s neutrality and the abstinence principle, which refuses to nurture the childish desires and needs of the analysand. The analysand, who begins to express the preconscious and therefore unconscious materials of the psyche in the analytical environment defined by these characteristics without being fully aware of what s/he is doing, gains insight to what s/he is holding in the unconscious (in particular the conflict) and its relation to her/his problems, with the help of the psychoanalyst’s comments.

First of all, psychoanalysis enables the remembering of things that have been experienced but pushed to the unconscious throughout life. In addition, it leads one to be more in control of memories, thoughts and emotions that s/he is partially aware of but is not in full control of. With these remembrances and holistic awareness, the analysand begins to perceive the connections between what is happening in his/her inner world and how these lead to events and relationship in his/her life, recurrent problems and inextricable situations. This attainment is called insight. With the formation of insight, those kept in the unconscious by defenses are brought to the conscious. This is a very significant transformation, because even though those confined to the unconscious are not readily discernable, they continue to control, or even govern a person’s psyche and life.

Insight is not gained merely through recognizing the previously unrecognized or the unconscious repetitions. This is only a beginning. Working though these recognitions repeatedly in a multi-pronged manner (in psychoanalytic terms this is referred to as “elaboration”) in the analytic space leads first to the transformation of cognitive learnings to emotional ones, and then to their becoming constant and natural.

Through acquiring insight, a person begins to break free of this state of being defined and subjugated unconsciously and move to the driver’s seat of his/her own life. In this respect, the process is a move towards liberation. With this liberation, the person becomes the subject of his/her own life. Through the process of becoming a subject, the person who previously defined most things pertaining to his life or himself through occurrences on the outside and was inclined to seek causes and responsible agents for these in the outside world; that is to say the person who regarded himself in some respect as the object of the outside world, begins to own up to his personal motivations and accept consequence and responsibility. This is a recognition of his own boundaries, weaknesses and nature, as well as his realistic power over the world and his potential. With this transformation, he is freed from the deprivation his boundless dreams, his evasiveness in his relationship to the world, excuses and self-deceptions have confined him into and can attain actual satisfaction and success through his own potential and power. He is now free of his deprivations and liberated through assuming the responsibility for and recognizing the consequences of his own choices.

When should one go to a psychoanalyst ?

While one can always go to a psychoanalyst to gain more maturity in their psychic development, in essence psychoanalysis is a treatment technique. A person should seek a psychoanalyst when s/he is facing psychological difficulties s/he cannot cope with, s/he is complaining of various symptoms, is helpless in face of recurrent problems in his/her relationships, becomes dissatisfied or unproductive in his/her work life or profession or loses his/her direction, objective and enthusiasm in his/her journey through life.

Can children and adolescents benefit from psychoanalytic treatment ?

Psychoanalytic treatment is successfully employed in treating the psychological problems of children and adolescents. The various psychoanalytic treatment techniques which have been used for over a decade have led to successful results in treating behavioral and emotional problems, adaptation difficulties and psychosomatic complaints of children and adolescents. Psychoanalytic treatment techniques for children and adolescents entail different approaches than of adult psychoanalysis such as game therapy, use of art and face to face sessions. The success of psychoanalysis with children and adolescents is not surprising because psychoanalysis gets in touch with the “child” in adults as well. It hears its language, its agony where it is stuck, its longings and anxieties.

Who can do psychoanalysis?

Those who have completed the necessary training and undergone personal analysis themselves are eligible to do psychoanalysis. As the Turkey Psychoanalysis Study Group Psike Istanbul, our association provides psychoanalytic training, which is approved and monitored by the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA). You may undergo psychoanalysis with our Psike İstanbul member analysts and advanced analyst candidates.
(For information on IPA please visit http://www.ipa.org.uk)



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