Psychoanalysis is a form of psychological treatment, based on an understanding of the unconscious mind, arising out of the pioneering work of Sigmund Freud. His ideas were subsequently developed by others. Psychoanalysis is far from being a unified set of theories. There is a wide variety of such theories, though all agree on certain basic principles.

There are those who claim that psychoanalysis is limited to the theories arising solely out of the work of Freud, Klein and a number of other theorists concerned principally with the nature of early relationships. Others take a much broader view of psychoanalysis which includes the work of Jung and analytical psychology; the Lacanian or French school; and the phenomenological and philosophical schools. This is the pluralistic tradition of psychoanalysis, which exists throughout the world, and it is this inclusive understanding, rather than the narrower one, which is supported by The College.

Freud Museum’s series ‘What Is Psychoanalysis?’

What is Psychoanalysis for?

Psychoanalysis offers a number of possibilities, including:

  • A means of understanding the nature of the human mind and its development.
  • A route to insight and the better understanding of oneself and relationships with others.
  • A form of treatment for understanding and dealing with mental pain and suffering.