What are the benefits of psychoanalysis? Psychoanalysis benefits the individual in a number of ways that not all types of psychotherapy do.
First, some context. In a complex society such as ours, people are challenged to adapt to a constant flow of change. Each of us is subject to cultural, ethnic, religious, economic, and political expectations while also trying to preserve our individual sense of self. While we navigate our way through daily living, we do our best to preserve the values, ideals, and dreams that make us unique.
Diversity and difference are essential on a large scale for a species to survive, while at the individual level consistency and integrity are essential for security. Many of the issues that bring persons to seek psychotherapy relate to threats against security. Loss of loved ones, conflicts with co-workers, struggles in school, or financial worries all share a basic threat to the preservation of one’s individuality. Yet, people are expected to adapt and change to the relentless pressure to conform.
Unfortunately, many modern approaches to psychotherapy advocate on behalf of the prevailing society’s definition of health. That is, the goals of some therapies involve helping the individual learn to accommodate his or her actions and ideas to those deemed “normal.” A person “should” be extraverted, socially motivated, objective, and open to change. Admirable as these qualities might be, they are not for everybody. Likewise, psychotherapy that functions as a tool for social conformity may tend to diminish the value of the individual in favor of a socio-political agenda.
In contrast, historically psychoanalytic therapy has advocated for the enhancement of human diversity through the nurturing of a person’s self-development. (Not surprisingly, psychoanalysis was banned in repressive totalitarian societies like the USSR). This is at the heart of the benefits of psychoanalysis.
Psychoanalysis advocates on behalf of the individual’s personal truths, as follows:
Too often, expedience and economic efficiency become the criteria for establishing a standard of care. Psychoanalytic psychotherapies support relevance, meaningfulness, and humanity as the more appropriate gold standards.
To learn more about psychoanalysis, see Psychodynamics of the Therapeutic Relationship, Personality Disorders from a Psychoanalytic Perspective, Psychodynamics of Child Abuse and Trauma, Classical Psychoanalytic Theory, Ego Psychology, or Object Relations Theory.