Frequently Asked Questions About Psychoanalysis Therapy

People tend to discount the dreams they experience while asleep. Little do they know that dreams are a representation of actual desires and needs. Well, this is according to Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis. 


He developed psychoanalysis to study the unconscious and conscious mind of a person. One of his techniques was dream interpretation. He asks the patients to discuss their dreams. Through that, he works to figure out what it meant for them. Freud even had a list of what certain things meant. For example, dreams can mean something sexual. A phallic-shaped or a womb shape in your dream might tell multiple messages. But it usually falls under the category of sex. 

Basically, psychoanalysis aims to pull the unconscious mind into the conscious. It seeks to identify the repressed issues causing current problems. Determining these underlying causes can be quite tricky, especially because the patients are also unaware of them.

Psychoanalysis therapy, according to Freud, typically takes time. The narration of childhood experiences and dreams may take up some sessions to complete. This type of treatment often takes years to finish.

However, there is no single definition for psychoanalysis. Stepping out of Freud’s thinking of psychoanalysis, this concept tends to vary between different experts.

Carl Jung has his archetypes, Erik Erikson, with his development stages, Karen Horney, for her neurotic needs. These psychologists formed works that drew away from Freud’s thinking and in an attempt to develop better psychological theory. 

If you want to know more about psychoanalysis, read the FAQs below.

What is psychoanalysis in simple terms?

Psychoanalysis refers to a set of psychological theories and therapies responsible for treating mental health illnesses. It involves investigating the interaction of the conscious and unconscious factors in the mind. The approach focuses on resurfacing repressed conflicts and fears to the conscious mind. Psychoanalysis uses techniques like free association and dream interpretation.

What is used in psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis brings the buried feelings, thoughts, and emotions to the conscious mind. During the sessions, you will discuss significant bad experiences from the past. These adverse events may have affected your behavior, thinking, and relationship. From here, you’ll work towards developing a healthy coping mechanism. It aims to eliminate excess baggage that may affect future relationships and ways of living.

What are psychoanalytic concepts?

Psychoanalytic concepts involve dividing the mind into three components:

  1. Id
  2. Ego
  3. Superego

The id is considered the most primitive among the three. It relies on instant gratification based on physical urges and needs. Meanwhile, the superego mainly focuses on social rules and morals. It revolves around a moral compass and conscience. These things dictate what is right or wrong. Lastly, the ego is the pragmatic and rational part. It is a combination of the conscious and unconscious.

What is the psychoanalytic approach?

The psychoanalytic approach revolves around the idea of touching the unconscious mind more than the conscious mind. It came from the foundational belief that your past experiences affect your actions and behaviors. With this, the trip to psychoanalysis should pass by these four basic components:

  1. interpretation,
  2. transference analysis,
  3. technical neutrality, and
  4. countertransference analysis.

What is the goal of psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis aims to make the client aware of the unconscious mind and pick up patterns from here. The feelings, thinking, and behavior you get from here should be studied and checked. It is essential to evaluate whether they are still helpful to your life now. If they are not, then psychoanalysis will help eliminate it from your unconscious mind. It is the best approach for those coping with problems in relationships, satisfaction, among others.

Is Psychoanalysis used today?

Yes, psychoanalysis is still around. However, psychoanalytic treatments are more expensive compared to other mental health treatments in the market.

What is wrong with psychoanalysis?

It has no scientific evidence with the presented ideas. The sole proof of this only relies on case studies. No known experiments happened to prove this. Another problem is it focuses too much on childhood development. Its concept reveals that the unconscious mind works depending on past experiences. However, not all patients have undergone trauma during their childhood.


Is a psychoanalyst a doctor?

Not all psychoanalysts are doctors. Some of them are professionals who have a Ph.D. or master’s degree in social work or psychology. However, there are also psychiatrists with DO degrees or MD who get into this therapeutic landscape.

Does psychoanalysis really work?

According to experts, psychoanalysis works if there are bottled-up trauma and problems from the past. However, other therapeutic approaches may be more apt for you if your issues do not house these.

How does one become a psychoanalyst?

The only way to become a psychoanalyst is to complete the psychoanalytic training program by the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA). Before this, you need experience as either a clinical social worker, clinical therapist, or clinical counselor. Keep in mind that this area also accepts other professionals who have outstanding qualifications. It does not matter whether they have social work or psychology degrees. They are accepted on a case-to-case basis.

How much money does a psychoanalyst make?

A psychoanalyst’s salary varies significantly. The pay ranges from $60,000 to $160,000 per year. Some of the highest paying states are New Jersey, Rhode Islands, and California, where they make as much as $100,000 per year.


Psychoanalysis might not be used that often anymore. But this theory opened up more discussions on the unconscious and conscious mind. Freud discussed that the unconscious mind is filled with repressed thoughts and feelings. These are often unpleasant, difficult, and not socially accepted. Although Freud connects it to something sexual, it may go further than that. 


When we feel anger and sadness, our instincts have always been to hide it away or to push it down. No one wants to see an angered person bellow and shout. These negative emotions are not meant to be showcased in public. But by repressing it, it falls into the unconscious mind. We work to ignore it.

However, as time goes by, the hole you dug for hiding these thoughts may fill up. It may come to the point where it can no longer contain your emotions. Eventually, it manifests as these mental health conditions.

Because of these many bottled-up emotions, many theories emerged to help uncorked them. By laying out these emotions, it will be easier to control and manage them. 

One of the therapies that do that is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of psychotherapy helps people who are suffering from anger issues. It enables the patient to become more aware of what they are feeling. Furthermore, it offers ways to identify the triggers. Through this, patients get to respond to it better. 

Anger issues might be a symptom of a mental health problem, with which CBT will help see-through. Some of the common underlying mental disorders that initially manifest as anger are depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or bipolar. If there are indeed more serious problems, the therapy has many various techniques. These methods can help the patient to understand themselves better and manage the condition. 

Although psychoanalysis is not as relevant today as it used to be, it will always remain an important foundation of psychology.