Psychoanalytic Approaches



To what degree is human behavior governed by rational, conscious processes as opposed to unconscious processes as suggested by William James? Historically, cognitive-behaviorists emphasize rationality, while psychoanalysts emphasize irrational, unconscious determinants. A synthesis of these dialectic polarities is developing as cognitive therapists (e.g., Young, Klosko, & Weishaar, 2003) focus on unconscious schemas, while many analysts now give greater emphasis to conscious processes (e.g., Aron, 2001). Unconscious motives, first described in Joseph Breuer and Sigmund Freud’s (1893–1895/1955) Studies in Hysteria, led to modern ideas about psychopathology. Breuer and Freud proposed that conversion symptoms result from a wish to forget painful memories: e.g., once hypnosis helped their patient, Anna O., remember painful childhood experiences, her symptoms disappeared. Later, Freud found that talking freely about early traumatic memories was more reliable and effective than hypnosis, the first “talking” therapy.


Free Association Psychodynamic Therapy Oedipal Complex Pleasure Principle Instinctual Drive 
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Further Reading

  1. Alexander, J. F., & French, T. (1946). Psychoanalytic therapy. New York: Ronald Press.Google Scholar
  2. Erikson, E. H. (1950). Childhood and society. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  3. Freud, A. (1936/1966). The ego and mechanisms of defense (Rev. ed.). The writings of Anna Freud (Vol. 2). New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
  4. Freud, S. (1924/1953). A general introduction to psychoanalysis. New York: Permabooks.Google Scholar
  5. Freud, S. (1933). New introductory lectures on psychoanalysis. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  6. Luborsky, L., & Crits-Christoph, P. (1998). Understanding transference: The core conflictual relational theme method. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Piaget, J. (1952/1963). The origins of intelligence in children. New York: Norton.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar


  1. American Psychological Association Systems of Psychotherapy Videotape Series. Psychoanalytic therapy with Nancy McWilliams (2008).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Professional PsychologyPacific UniversityHillsboroUSA

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