Developments in Psychoanalysis in the Twenty first Century

Psychoanalysis is defined as “a form of psychotherapy used by qualified psychotherapists to treat patients who have a range of mild to moderate chronic life problems”. This psychological theory was founded by Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist. He is regarded as the “father of psychoanalysis”.

Psychoanalysis is based on the principle that people are not aware of the many factors that cause their behavior and emotions. These factors have the potential to make them unhappy. Traditional psychoanalysis recommends five 45 to 50 minute sessions per week. Psychoanalytic thinking has vibrancy and depth. 

Freud founded psychoanalysis towards the end of the nineteenth century. Some experts question the relevance of psychoanalysis in the twenty first century. Many theories related to the mind have proliferated since Freud’s discovery of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis has been at the mercy of an uncontrolled evolutionary process ever since Freud’s death. 

Some experts are of the opinion that Freud made many mistakes and that there is much more to psychoanalysis than Freud considered. Many believe that psychoanalysis is in crisis. For psychoanalysis to survive and thrive, it has to give up its arrogant attitude towards other therapeutic models. 

Research in psychoanalysis is ongoing. Unfortunately it is not a well-integrated activity within its own field. Psychoanalysis has evolved around the hearsay evidence of the treating psychoanalyst in the past, and it continues to do so. Some psychoanalysts argue that psychoanalysis is not a science.

Currently psychoanalysis is used extensively as a research tool into child development. It is one among many treatment approaches for various mental disturbances. There are many training institutes of psychoanalysis in the US, which are accredited by the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Dr. Jerome S. Blackman has made significant contributions to psychoanalysis in the current century. His book, 101 Defenses: How the Mind Shields Itself, was published in the year 2003. In the book, he states that repression and isolation of effect are two basic defenses. 

According to Blackman, when defenses are maladaptive, they create symptoms like depression, compulsions and phobias. They can also contribute to character related issues like hypersexuality, obnoxiousness, shyness and chronic passivity. The book contains many clinical examples. 

Modern conflict theory is used widely by psychoanalysts all over the world. This theory is a revision of Freud’s structural theory. It does away with the concept of a fixed ego. Modern conflict theory posits conscious and unconscious conflict among wishes and emotions.