Psychoanalysis is the term that is used to refer to the form of therapy that is often used to treat depressive disorders. A depressive disorder is evident in a patient when they experience and/or exhibit consistent feelings of depression or even recurring depression that may interfere with a person’s ability to function at a normal level on a daily basis. It is common for individuals who are experiencing depression to seem sad or hopeless, to have changes in their eating habits or sleeping habits, to be distracted easily, to have constant fatigue, to lose interest in activities that were once enjoyable, and to possibly even consider suicide. Psychoanalysis is commonly used to treat patients who are dealing with postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, psychotic depression, dysthymic disorder, or a major depressive disorder.
Psychoanalysis works to uncover aspects of a person’s nature that may be unconsciously contributing to his or her psychological distress, like depression. The American Psychoanalytic Association states that psychoanalysis is both a therapeutic treatment of psychological disorders, as well as a theory of human nature. Since depression is considered to be a treatable condition, it is most common for individuals who are experiencing depression to seek psychoanalysis.
It is also common for this to be used in conjunction with some type of antidepressant medication. During psychoanalysis, a patient will typically be seated to discuss important matters with the psychoanalyst. As a psychoanalyst it is critical that you can help an individual work to deal with the unconscious factors that often determine our outward behavior and emotions. However, it is important to understand that there are over twenty theories that are based in psychoanalysis and that are in reference to human mental development. Furthermore, the treatment methods vary as much as the different theories do.
As a psychoanalyst you will operate under six basic principles. First, the human behavior, cognition, and experiences are mostly determined by drives that are not rational. Second, these drives are also unconscious, as well as irrational. Next, psychoanalysts work to bring these drives into awareness, but are typically met with psychological resistance that presents itself in the form of defense mechanisms. Fourth, an individual’s personality is based on inherited traits, along with events that occur in early childhood. Next, mental disturbances often occur because of conflicted views that exist between unconscious materials and a person’s view of reality. This includes issues such as anxiety, depression, and neurosis. Lastly, unconscious materials can be liberated by bringing the material into a more conscious state.
There are also six theories that a psychoanalyst typically follows. A topographic theory functions on the fact that our mental states can be divided into systems of: conscious, pre-conscious, and unconscious. It is important to understand that within this theory our systems are not thought to be anatomical parts of our brain, but rather mental processes that we have. Another theory that you may employ as a psychoanalyst is the structural theory. This theory divides the psyche into the id, the ego, and the super-ego.
Each of these psyches are present and prominent at different stages of our lives. Another theory that you may find present in your day to day work is that of ego psychology. This theory focuses on how we function with issues like: motor control, judgment about dangerous situations, adaptive abilities, self-preservation, logical thought, orientation, concentration, and sensory perception. You may also use modern conflict theory, which is very similar to the ego psychology thought process. Other, less popular theories that are used in this career path are the object relations theory and self-psychology.