Who will benefit most from psychoanalysis therapy

Classical psychoanalysis according to Freud

Psychoanalytically oriented therapy methods are based on the personality and disease theory of Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), the founder of psychoanalysis. They strive to uncover unconscious conflicts and make use of psychoanalytic treatment methods.

Freud assumes that mental illness is always based on an unresolved conflict. The symptoms of the patients go back to secret longings and desires, traumatizing experiences or fears from childhood that were pushed out of consciousness into the unconscious. There they remain hidden for years, so that adequate processing is impossible. In the classical psychoanalysis The therapeutic work consists in the analysis of transference and resistance: Feelings that were originally intended for other people - mostly the parents - are transferred to the therapist. The patient opposes the disclosure of unconscious content by z. B. is silent. Furthermore, psychoanalysis is about the interpretation of unconscious "material" that is generated through free association, through dreams (dream interpretation) and wrongdoings such as B. the Freudian slip of the tongue is expressed.

How does the therapy work? Freud provided clear framework conditions for psychoanalysis and an external one "Setting" fixed: the patient lies on the couch while the analyst - sitting behind him - follows the verbalized thoughts with continuous attention. The patient undertakes to comply with the basic rule of saying everything that occurs to him (free association). The psychoanalytic “setting” has a regression-promoting effect, i. H. Due to the distraction-free environment and unaffected by reactions of the therapist, the patient gives up his usual controlledness, so that in this relaxed, relaxed state, what was previously unconscious or repressed can reach the surface and be expressed.

The main form of psychoanalysis is individual therapy. Group therapy oriented towards depth psychology is mainly offered in inpatient facilities. Since the patient "surrenders" to the therapist in the therapy sessions, this applies to the analyst Abstinence rule: Contact with the patient and their relatives outside the therapeutic framework must be avoided.

What is the therapy goal? "Where it was supposed to I become “: The unconscious should be made conscious, the transference enables the patient to relive conflict-laden childhood experiences under better conditions, which can now, once consciously, be worked through and thus resolved.

Who is it for? Psychoanalysis is suitable for patients with serious life problems and long-lasting disorders that encompass the whole personality. Patients with a high level of education and stable environment, who support the long-term analysis process, benefit in particular.

How long does the therapy last? The therapy extends over several years with 3–5 weekly sessions.


Dr. med. Arne Schäffler, Gisela Finke in: Gesundheit heute, edited by Dr. med. Arne Schäffler. Trias, Stuttgart, 3rd edition (2014). Revision and update: Dr. med. Sonja Kempinski | last changed on at 14:44