Psychotherapy, or psychology, is the study of human behavior, with an emphasis on the psychological and mental responses to experience. It is not unusual that we use some form of psychotherapy every day, from simple exercises of relaxation and meditation to highly structured therapies of all kinds.

Many people today are familiar with the field known as cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. Within the range of normal human behavior is where we most need help, and psychoanalysis helps people face those issues head-on.

What is psychoanalysis?

Psychotherapy is a collection of therapeutic techniques and concepts used to explore the unconscious mind, that set into motion a process of recovery for many mental illnesses.

The field was started by Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, who retained the word psychoanalysis for his school of thought. In the modern period, psychoanalysis has come to embrace several other related approaches, including

Psychoanalytical Methods
  • Social constructionism
  • Neuropsychology
  • Developmentalism

All of these approaches agree on the centrality of repressed memories and their subsequent influence upon the emergence of the individual personality.

Repressed memories or “repressed thoughts” as they are sometimes called are memories that are held strongly by the sufferer but remain virtually invisible to the conscious mind.

They are the victim’s innermost thoughts, and because they are repressed they are almost certainly true. Because they are the victim’s innermost thoughts, they must be repressed for a time before emerging consciousness.

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When this happens, the implications of the repressed memory can have profound effects upon the person’s personality. In fact, repressed memories can often lead to personality changes that last long after the original event that triggered the memory has been forgotten.

So how do we know that these memories exist?

This is where the process of psychoanalysis comes in. During a free association session with a qualified psychoanalysis expert, the client is shown multiple pictures or photographs and asked to mentally “write down” what he sees in each picture.

This act is called “free association.” And it is this process that provides the basis for many of today’s popular psychotherapies, such as dream analysis and dream therapy.

So how can we use this process in our day-to-day lives?

Through dream analysis and/or dream therapy we can discover repressed memories. For example, if you have an upsetting dream you may note in your dreams that you are being choked by a large and seemingly harmless ball.

However, as you relax and think about the fact that the object of your dream was in fact a small and harmless ball you will slowly remember that it felt very uncomfortable to be choked by the large ball.

Or if you were dreaming about your greatest fear you might notice that it felt like the object of your fear was inside you and that you were not safe in that dream.

Another great way to get information from the unconscious is through free association. This is where a series of images, colors, and other feelings are randomly injected into a person’s conscious experience. Each time they see the image or hear the sound of a word they associate it with that particular emotion.

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If you listen to a song and repeatedly hear the word green while listening you will develop a strong association with that song. It is this association that is picked up by the unconscious mind and translated into repressed memories.

The importance of dreams cannot be underestimated

They hold the key information for future memory, foresight, and even for understanding the subconscious. So it should not come as a surprise that during a sleep study, a psychologist will often ask his patient to “recount” their dreams.

It is important for the analyst to be able to read the dreams accurately. Once the dreamer knows what to focus on he can translate the dreams into usable information.

I personally found that learning to decipher my own dreams helped me greatly in my personal development. Now, that I am an entrepreneur I can use dreams as a tool to help me make big decisions.

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