The basic purpose of psychoanalysis therapy is to explore those aspects of the individual self that are hidden. Shedler (2008) describes several distinguishing features of psychoanalytic therapy, and these include: one, the therapy explores and discusses in depth client emotions. Counselors assist clients to describe and translate words to feelings; two, explores attempts by clients to shy away from thoughts and feelings that are distressful. Psychoanalyst therapists should focus more and explore on avoidance to fully assist the clients; three, psychoanalysis therapists strive to raise and explore themes and pattern in clients that keep on recurring. This also involves feelings, thoughts, and life experiences; four, deliberations on clients previous experiences. Past experiences, particularly early attachment experiences influences individual relationships with others in the present; and others (Shedler, 2008).
Ferguson’s (2006) journal article postulates individual behavior to be determined by unconscious motivations, irrational forces, and drives of instincts as they develop through the last six stages undergone in an individual’s life. This approach puts more emphasis on client instinctual drives. According to Shedler (2008), every person needs this drives for survival. More so these drives are concerned with individual growth and development. Notably, it is eminent that, these drives are understood as a source of motivation (Steger, 2005). Freud was more concerned with life instincts and death instincts. Life instincts explained particularly acts of human pleasure. Death instincts are known to explain human aggressive drives. Quite often, human beings demonstrate their aggressive behavior through unconscious urge to die or injure themselves or others (Ferguson, 2006). Individuals find it difficult to manage such aggressive behavior. Psychoanalysis therapy considers sexual and aggressive drives as determinants of human behavior (Shedler, 2008).
The Process of Psychoanalysis Therapy
Shedler (2008) explains how psychoanalysis therapists make the client’s unconscious aware; and how to strengthen the ego so that client behavior is determined more on reality and less on instinct. Psychoanalysis therapy brings about significant changes to a client’s individual personality and the structure of behavior (Ferguson, 2006). As explained by Shedler (2008), major techniques in psychoanalysis therapy are applied to show the materials clients might not be aware of. The process is followed by reconstruction, discussion, interpretation, and analysis of clients’ childhood experiences. Ferguson (2006) posits that, the counseling session is not restricted to problem solving and learning new behavior only; rather, it involves therapists’ intense probing to gain necessary awareness enough to be able to transform the client. This theory enables counselors to gain insight on what affects the client for effective counseling. It takes on board feelings and memories associated with clients’ self understanding (Shedler, 2008).
Psychoanalytic therapists do not make self disclosures for the purpose of maintaining and encouraging a transference relationship with clients (Steger, 2005). Transference shifts feelings experienced in early relationships with important people in a client’s present environment. In his journal article, Shedler (2008) posits that psychoanalysis therapists do not disclose much about them to clients. The theory assumes that the therapy largely depends on the clients feelings about past memories. Ferguson (2006) explains that therapists using psychoanalysis approach need to establish a working relationship with the clients and spend much time listening and interpreting; particularly in areas clients tend to be resistant.
Applications of psychoanalytic Therapy
Major Techniques, and Areas of the theory is mostly Application
There several methods that can be employed in psychoanalysis therapy, these methods include; transference counter-transference, resistance, and ego-defense mechanisms (Ferguson, 2006). Transference process has the ability to interact with psychoanalysis therapists with the client. It facilitates the transfer of client’s unconscious to therapist’s feelings and fantasies that are reactions to important memories in clients past (Ferguson, 2006). Transference is a reflection of deep patterns of clients past experiences in relationships as they emerge in their current lives (Shedler, 2008). Clients have a variety of feelings and responses to therapists, a mixture of both favorable and unfavorable feelings (Ferguson, 2006).
Evaluation of Psychoanalytic Approach
Contributions and Limitations of the Approach
Psychoanalysis approach by Freud brought sufficient development in clinical work with children and has enriched the understanding of normal child and adolescent development (Shedler, 2008). This approach has brought to surface the understanding of childhood and adolescence as complex. The contributions are innovative and consider dimensions of the clinical process. The ideals of this approach make continued relevance in the treatment of children and adolescents (Ferguson, 2006).
Psychoanalysis theory does not cater for all client needs, for instance, it does not offer clients time required to be alone or regress. The theory cannot be applied to every one and consumes much time compared to other brief approaches. Some principles and writings of proponents of psychoanalysis are technical and difficult to comprehend (Shedler, 2008).