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Founder of Psychoanalysis School of Thought

The founder of the Psychoanalysis school of thought is Sigmund Freud. Freud, an Austrian neurologist, developed the theory of psychoanalysis in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work laid the foundation for the understanding of the human mind and its complexities. Freud’s ideas on the unconscious mind, the role of sexuality in human development, and the significance of dreams have had a profound influence on psychology and continue to shape discussions on mental health and therapy to this day.

Founder of Psychoanalysis School of Thought

Contributors of Psychoanalysis School of Thought

While Sigmund Freud is considered the founder of psychoanalysis, there were several key contributors to the development and expansion of the psychoanalytic school of thought. Some notable figures include:

Carl Jung:

A Swiss psychiatrist and colleague of Freud, Jung initially followed Freud’s ideas but later developed his own school of analytical psychology, which diverged from Freud’s emphasis on sexuality and placed a greater focus on the collective unconscious and archetypes.

Alfred Adler:

An Austrian psychiatrist, Adler was an early member of Freud’s inner circle but eventually developed his own school of individual psychology. Adler’s theories emphasized the importance of social and cultural factors, as well as the pursuit of superiority or success, in shaping personality.

Melanie Klein:

A psychoanalyst from Austria, Klein expanded on Freud’s work with a focus on early childhood development. She is known for her contributions to object relations theory and her exploration of the internal world of infants and young children.

Anna Freud:

Sigmund Freud’s daughter, Anna Freud was a prominent psychoanalyst who made significant contributions to child psychoanalysis. Her work emphasized the importance of the ego in understanding human behavior and the development of defense mechanisms.

Wilhelm Reich:

An Austrian psychoanalyst, Reich initially followed Freud but later developed his own ideas, including the concept of “orgone energy” and the role of sexual repression in mental illness.

It’s important to note that while these individuals were initially associated with Freud and psychoanalysis, they later developed their own theories and schools of thought, leading to various branches within the broader field of psychoanalysis.

Focus of Psychoanalysis School of Thought

The Psychoanalysis school of thought, founded by Sigmund Freud, is centered around the exploration of the unconscious mind and the influence of unconscious processes on human thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Here are some key focuses of psychoanalysis:

Unconscious Mind:

Freud proposed that a significant portion of the mind operates at an unconscious level, containing thoughts, memories, and desires that are not readily accessible to conscious awareness. Understanding and addressing the unconscious is a central aspect of psychoanalysis.

Psychodynamic Processes:

Psychoanalysis emphasizes the role of dynamic and often conflicting psychological forces within an individual. These forces may involve unconscious drives, desires, and defense mechanisms that shape behavior.

Sexuality and Development:

Freud’s theory includes a psychosexual development model that describes how individuals pass through different stages of sexual development during childhood. These stages (oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital) are believed to influence personality development.

Role of Defense Mechanisms:

Psychoanalysis explores the various defense mechanisms individuals use to cope with anxiety and protect themselves from uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Examples include repression, denial, projection, and sublimation.

Therapeutic Process:

Psychoanalysis introduced a novel approach to therapy, involving open-ended discussions between the patient and the analyst. This method aims to uncover unconscious conflicts, bring them into conscious awareness, and work through them to achieve psychological healing.

Free Association and Dream Analysis:

Techniques such as free association (expressing thoughts without censorship) and dream analysis are used to reveal unconscious material. Freud believed that dreams, in particular, provide a pathway to understanding hidden desires and conflicts.

Transference and Countertransference:

Psychoanalysis recognizes the phenomena of transference, where patients may transfer emotions and attitudes from significant relationships onto the therapist, and countertransference, where therapists may also have emotional reactions. Both are considered crucial aspects of the therapeutic process.

It’s important to note that while psychoanalysis has had a profound impact on the field of psychology, subsequent developments in psychology have led to various schools of thought and therapeutic approaches that may differ significantly from classical psychoanalysis.

Methodology of Psychoanalysis School of Thought

The methodology of psychoanalysis involves a distinctive set of techniques and principles developed by Sigmund Freud and subsequently expanded upon by other psychoanalysts. Here are some key components of the psychoanalytic methodology:

Free Association:

In free association, the patient is encouraged to speak freely without censorship, expressing whatever comes to mind. This technique is designed to uncover unconscious thoughts, feelings, and memories. The analyst listens and pays attention to patterns, associations, and themes that may emerge.

Dream Analysis:

Freud believed that dreams are a window into the unconscious. Dream analysis involves the examination of the content and symbolism of dreams to uncover hidden desires, conflicts, and unresolved issues. The analyst helps the patient explore the meaning behind dream elements.


Transference occurs when a patient unconsciously transfers feelings and attitudes from past significant relationships onto the therapist. This phenomenon is considered an important aspect of psychoanalytic therapy, providing insights into unresolved conflicts and emotional patterns.


The psychoanalyst interprets the patient’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, aiming to uncover underlying unconscious conflicts. Interpretations are designed to make the unconscious conscious, helping the patient gain insight into their psychological processes.


Resistance refers to the patient’s reluctance or hesitancy to discuss certain thoughts, emotions, or topics. Psychoanalysts view resistance as a defense mechanism and use it as a valuable clue to identify areas of psychological conflict that need exploration.

Working Through:

Psychoanalytic therapy involves a process of working through and addressing unresolved conflicts. The patient and analyst collaboratively explore and process emotional experiences, aiming to achieve a deeper understanding and resolution of underlying issues.

Long-Term and Intensive Therapy:

Psychoanalysis is often a long-term and intensive form of therapy, with sessions typically held several times a week. The extended duration allows for a comprehensive exploration of the patient’s psyche and the development of a strong therapeutic relationship.

Focus on the Unconscious:

The central focus of psychoanalysis is on the unconscious mind and the role it plays in shaping thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. The goal is to bring unconscious material into conscious awareness for greater self-understanding and personal growth.

It’s important to note that while these techniques were foundational to classical psychoanalysis, various modifications and adaptations have been made over time, and contemporary psychodynamic therapies may incorporate different approaches while still drawing on the fundamental principles of psychoanalysis.

Role of Psychoanalysis School of Thought in psychology

The Psychoanalysis school of thought, founded by Sigmund Freud, has played a significant role in the development of psychology. While it is not as dominant as it once was, its influence persists in several ways:

Historical Significance:

Psychoanalysis is historically significant as one of the earliest and most influential psychological theories. It marked a departure from earlier views on psychology and laid the groundwork for the development of various psychological schools and perspectives.

Introduction of the Unconscious Mind:

Freud’s emphasis on the unconscious mind as a powerful determinant of behavior was a groundbreaking concept. This idea has influenced subsequent psychological theories and research, leading to a deeper understanding of how unconscious processes shape human cognition and behavior.

Therapeutic Practices:

Psychoanalysis introduced a novel therapeutic approach that focused on exploring unconscious conflicts, emotions, and memories. While classical psychoanalysis may not be as prevalent today, psychodynamic therapies and other therapeutic modalities often incorporate elements of psychoanalytic principles.

Concepts of Defense Mechanisms:

Freud’s identification and exploration of defense mechanisms (e.g., repression, denial, projection) have contributed to our understanding of how individuals cope with anxiety and protect themselves from distressing thoughts and emotions.

Impact on Personality Theory:

Freud’s psychosexual stages and the structure of the mind (id, ego, superego) have had a lasting impact on personality theory. Although some aspects of these theories have been modified or challenged, they have influenced subsequent research on personality development.

Focus on Early Childhood Experiences:

Psychoanalysis emphasized the importance of early childhood experiences in shaping personality and behavior. This emphasis has had a lasting impact on developmental psychology and our understanding of how early experiences influence later life.

Influence on Literature and Culture:

Freudian concepts have permeated literature, art, and popular culture. Ideas such as the Oedipus complex, Freudian slips, and the interpretation of dreams have become part of the broader cultural vocabulary, even for those not directly involved in psychology.

Pioneering Role in Talking Therapies:

Psychoanalysis pioneered the use of talking therapies, which have become fundamental in various forms of psychotherapy. The idea that verbal communication can facilitate psychological healing and self-discovery remains a cornerstone of many therapeutic approaches.

While the influence of classical psychoanalysis has diminished in the face of newer psychological paradigms, its impact on the field’s history, methodology, and conceptual framework is undeniable. Many contemporary psychologists continue to draw on psychoanalytic principles, either directly or indirectly, in their work.

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