Under the broad umbrella of psychoanalysis there are at least 22 theoretical orientations regarding human mental development. The various approaches in treatment called “psychoanalysis” vary as much as the theories do. The term also refers to a method of analysing child development.
The basic tenets of psychoanalysis include:
- a person’s development is determined by often forgotten events in early childhood rather than by inherited traits alone
- human attitude, mannerism, experience, and thought is largely influenced by irrational drives that are rooted in the unconscious
- it is necessary to bypass psychological resistance in the form of defense mechanisms when bringing drives into awareness
- conflicts between the conscious and the unconscious, or with repressed material can materialize in the form of mental or emotional disturbances, for example:neurosis, neurotic traits, anxiety, depression etc.
- liberating the elements of the unconscious is achieved through bringing this material into the conscious mind (via e.g. skilled guidance, i.e. therapeutic intervention).