Psychoanalysis is a psychological and psychotherapeutic theory conceived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysts believe that:
A person’s development is determined by events in early childhood. Human behaviour, experience, and cognition are largely determined by irrational drives which are largely unconscious. Attempts to bring those drives into awareness meet psychological resistance in the form of defense mechanisms. Conflicts between conscious and unconscious (repressed) material can result in mental disturbances such as neurosis, anxiety and depression. The liberation from the effects of the unconscious material is achieved through bringing this material into the conscious mind through skilled guidance.

Freudian psychoanalysis refers to a specific type of treatment in which the patient verbalizes thoughts, including free associations, fantasies, and dreams, from which the analyst induces the unconscious conflicts causing the patient’s symptoms and character problems, and interprets them for the patient to create insights that can lead to resolution of the problems.

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