what is analysis?

Adapted by Ian Evens from the Miller-Keane Medical Dictionary, 2000.

Analysis is a method of investigating mental processes which uses the techniques of free association. Analysis is an insight-oriented type of Psychotherapy. Its goal is to uncover unconscious psychological patterns and enable the client to discover the influence of these patterns in daily life. As the client acquires self-knowledge, the unconscious patterns are undone and areas of behaviour come under conscious control. For a person who has the required maturity and intelligence and who is motivated to accomplish a thorough reconstruction of the personality, analysis is the psychotherapy of choice.

Traditional forms of analysis usually takes between two to five years but there are some analysts who combine analysis with hypnosis which has been shown to dramatically speed up the process to around 8 to 10 sessions although this may vary from person to person. This type of approach is called Hypnoanalysis (a combination of hypnosis and psychoanalysis).

Psychoanalytic theory has increased our understanding of the causes of neurosis and personality disorders. Neurotic patterns of behaviour have their origin in conflicts, feelings, and attitudes that often arise in a persons developing years.

A younger person may have many desires, impulses, and thoughts that are in conflict with the expectations of their parents or other important figures. In order to avoid the unbearable anxiety of direct conflict, which they fear, would result in loss of affection or other forms of punishment, these conflicts are repressed or disavowed; the anxiety-producing thoughts or feelings are excluded from conscious awareness. Normally, the conflict is resolved unconsciously by acting it out in a disguised way in order to come to terms with it.

When unconscious conflicts are not resolved, they may continue to be acted out in daily life, producing neurotic symptoms. A neurotic adult will tend to respond to people in terms of childhood feelings toward members of the family, even though these responses are not appropriate to the situation. Without realising it, the person is going through adult life still acting out fantasies of childhood. The unresolved conflicts prevent the person from seeing others as they are and reacting to them in an appropriate way.

Hypnoanalysis relies upon Free Association. In this technique the client simply says whatever comes to mind without censoring or withholding anything, no matter how distressing, embarrassing, trivial or irrelevant it seems. The analyst forms tentative explanations of the client's associations and experiences but withholds them until they are validated by more material and until the client is in a receptive frame of mind. Often the analyst is silent for long periods in order to avoid interfering with the client's train of associations. In order to facilitate this process, which would be interrupted by the client's need to respond to the analyst's facial expressions and conversational responses, the client usually lies on a couch facing away from the analyst and the client will have their eyes closed to aid concentration and the process.

Interpretation. At appropriate times, the analyst may make interpretations, which are explanations of the connection between the client's mental phenomena as revealed by free association and his behaviour and neurotic symptoms. Interpretations are not forced on the client; even cautious interpretations arouse some anxiety and meet some resistance from the client. An experienced analyst can often present an interpretation so that it seems to be an obvious inference from what the client has just said; however, the client still needs to work out his own conclusions and arrive at his own understanding of his psychology and motivations.

Resistance. Neither free association nor the client's assimilation of interpretations proceeds smoothly; both are interrupted by various forms of resistance. The associations are interrupted by forgetfulness, evasions, embarrassment, or mental blocks from the client and the interpretations may be met with various forms of resistance, such as denial, anger, or misunderstanding. Resistance occurs because the blocked association or understanding would be too threatening to face at that point in the therapy and is in itself an important indication of the client's unconscious patterns.

Transference. This refers to the emotional reaction of the client to the analyst in ways that reproduce unconscious emotional attitudes toward the parents or other important persons that developed in the client's younger years. The client may exhibit affection, hostility, or ambivalence toward the analyst that is a projection of unconscious images onto the analyst. The analyst must remain objective about the client's transference. After the analyst has made sure that it is not a reaction to the analyst's own behaviour, the transference can be interpreted to help the client understand these childhood attitudes.

An emotional response of the analyst to the client's transference is known as Countertransference. Any overt response to the client, such as anger, impatience, resentment, or seductive behaviour, may cause serious problems and result in a therapeutic failure.

About ian Evens

Ian has appeared on National ITV and BBC Radio and has successfully treated TV soap stars, international sports people, Doctors, Surgeons, Lawyers and hundreds of everyday people at his hypnotherapy centre in Birmingham. Specialising in the treatment of Anxiety, Emotional and Psychological problems he has helped many people make significant steps to overcome various types of problems and his philosophy is to work with people to leave them feeling better about themselves, with a stronger sense of their own identity and more in control of their own life and relationships. During the mid-nineties he worked as an assistant to Paul McKenna and Michael Breen, probably two of the most well-known Hypnotists and Personal Change Consultants in the UK.

He can be contacted on 0121 707 3588 and his website www.retracforchange.co.uk contains many case studies and letters from satisfied clients.

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