Freudian psychotherapy and key psychoanalytic concepts

Freudian psychotherapy and key psychoanalytic concepts

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The Freudian psychotherapy It consists in bringing aspects of the unconscious to the surface of the conscious. That is, strengthen the I so that it becomes "independent" a little more than Surpassed, thus expanding its field of perception so that it can appropriate new parts of the It.

Freudian psychotherapy: the key techniques

Memories extraction

The first technique Freud used described her as the extraction of repressed childhood memories. It consisted of putting the hand on the patients head and saying something similar to some Commands In this way, his patients were supposed to suggest themselves and tell him their deepest memories.

Over time, Freud realized that he had no way of checking if these stories were true, so he was adopting new psychotherapy techniques in search of greater objectivity.

Free Association

One of the techniques Freud used was the Free association. In it, the subject, verbalized all the feelings and thoughts that crossed his mind.

The objective of this technique is to reach the unconscious from a conscious idea and letting it continue, following it until obtaining valuable material from the unconscious, through the associations made by the patient.

The transfer It is a very important process in the psychodynamic approach. It consists of working on sexual, aggressive, identification, etc. feelings. that patients develop towards the psychoanalyst.

As long as these feelings are expressed as interest or love, the transfer does not interfere in therapy at all. It would develop a positive transfer.

If one develops negative transfer, the analyst must be able to recognize it and explain it to the patient, to prevent the patient from developing a resistance to treatment

Resistance consists of a series of unconscious responses that patients use to obstruct or block therapy., but it can also indicate that the therapy has exceeded the surface level. Therefore, it would be, in principle, a positive signal.

Dream analysis

Surely Freud's favorite technique, about which he wrote a full essay with the same name. As he said: "the Via Regia towards the unconscious". This Viennese doctor used the dream analysis to transform the manifest content in latent content.

The manifest content in a dream refers to the superficial meaning, or what we remember when waking up, conscious material. Conversely, latent content represents the symbolic world of the person full of conflicts and desires, the unconscious material of the dream.

Freud had a basic budget for dream interpretation and it was that almost all dreams are wish fulfillment ”. Some can be quite obvious and come to express themselves in the manifest content

For example, when a person goes to bed hungry and ends up dreaming of all kinds of food in large quantities. However, most are expressed in latent content and Only this analysis of the interpretation of dreams can reveal its hidden desire.

Patients with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, they often dream repeatedly of traumatic or frightening experiences. They follow, therefore, the principle of obsessive repetition. According to Freud, dreams are created by the unconscious, but they try to reach consciousness. They may try to send us a message.

The technique of dream analysis in Freudian psychotherapy

For the analysis of dreams, Freud used at least two methods:

  • One of them consisted of ask patients to try to relate the dream to some thought or feeling, whether logical or not. This revealed the unconscious desire that was camouflaged behind the dream.
  • If this first technique did not work, that is, if the patient could not perform these associations, Freud resorted to the second method. This consisted of analyze the symbols of dreams, which served to discover unconscious elements that are behind the manifest content.

The objective was to reach the latent content following the process of dream formation in the opposite direction. He defined this method, the most reliable for the study of the unconscious and its processes, and called it the "real route" for the study and knowledge of the unconscious.

Analysis of lapsus linguae

Freud also claimed that lapsus linguae, errors in reading, speaking or writing are not just accidents, but important information of the unconscious They reveal themselves to a person.

Very often, the lapse would reflect the true intentions of the individual. They express themselves unconsciously. However, then, the person consciously tries to correct the error and hide it.


  • Bleichmar, H. (2016).Advances in psychoanalytic psychotherapy: towards a technique of specific interventions(No. 616.8914 B646a). Paidós ,.
  • Coderch, J. (1987).Theory and technique of psychoanalytic psychotherapy(No. 616.8914 C669t). Herder ,.
  • Kernberg, O. (2000). Psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic psychotherapy and supportive psychotherapy: contemporary controversies.Journal of Psychiatry of Uruguay64(2), 336-352.


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