Psychoanalysis is a process of working with highly trained professionals. Through discussions, doctors uncover and heal often forgotten events or disturbances.
Freud was a neurologist who noticed that patients under hypnosis talked about disturbing events, oftentimes from their childhood. He theorized that speaking about these events would allow a person to confront, heal, and work through issues affecting their personality. Personality quirks were referred to as “hysteria.”
He quickly found that, with the right type of guidance, patience need not be hypnotized. However, he noted the difficulty of discussing painful events and many patients did not even remember the events until confronted. Freud found many of these painful memories to be sexual in nature, especially for female patients.
In 1896, Freud first wrote about his theory. There is a link between the psychological and psychological anchored chiefly in the unconscious, he opined. The process to uncover these links, the hidden landmines, he referred to as “psychoanalysis.”
His work progressed until he eventually identified three components of personality, an id, ego, and superego. The id are instinctive impulses. Ego involves self-esteem or self-importance. Superego refers to the part of the mind that is self-critical, that reflects social standards learned from others. In Freud’s world, most problems stemmed from superego issues, often inherited from parents or teachers.
Only trained physicians were qualified to perform psychoanalysis in Freud’s time. This eventually evolved into its own field, where a new field — doctors of psychology, or psychologists — were qualified to perform psychoanalysis.
Freud went on to influence virtually every known psychologist. Some of his early theories have been discounted but the field of psychology, no matter which branch, all eventually tie back to Freud and his work.