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Kendra Cherry

What Is Psychoanalysis?

By February 22, 2012

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Psychoanalysis is a school of psychology founded by Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. This school of thought emphasized the influence of the unconscious mind on behavior. Freud believed that the human mind was composed of three elements: the id, the ego, and the superego.

When you look at theories of psychology, most are known as mini-theories. They describe a small and very specific aspect of human psychology. Psychoanalysis, on the other hand, is what is known as a grand theory; a comprehensive theory that attempts to explain almost all aspects of human experience.

Today, the term psychoanalysis is used to refer to many aspects of Freud's work and research, including Freudian therapy and the research methodology he used to develop his theories. Freud theory was heavily influenced by his observations and case studies of his patients.

Freud's theories were enormously influential, but subject to considerable criticism both now and during his own life. However, his ideas have become interwoven into the fabric of our culture, with terms such as "Freudian slip," "repression," and "denial" frequently used in everyday language.

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