Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is a type of talking therapy that can be used to treat mental health conditions. It is a highly-popular form of talking therapy that has helped many people.

There are many different types of talking therapy. As a result, when choosing a type of therapy to undertake, it is important to look at the different options available. This article looks at some of the key areas of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy.

Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is a very common form of talking therapy

What is Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy?

Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy: Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is a talking therapy that aims to help uncover and resolve unconscious beliefs that cause psychiatric conditions. Traumatic experiences that may or may not be buried in the unconscious mind can be highlighted and processed. Psychoanalytical psychotherapy involves talking to a trained therapist. The therapist can show the individual how early memories and past traumas have affected their thinking, behaviour and attitude in the modern day. Psychoanalytical psychotherapy is especially useful for any condition that involves past trauma. Renowned neurologist Sigmund Freud developed this therapy, which is typically completed over a long-term basis.

1. Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is based on Sigmund Freud’s theories

Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy works on the idea that certain past experiences have been buried in the unconscious mind – a part of the human mind that we are not consciously aware of.

However, these experiences continue to affect a person’s thinking, thoughts and behaviour in the modern day, without the person actively realising. These areas negatively affect the person. This form of therapy is based on Sigmund Freud’s “psychoanalysis” theory.

2. Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy can treat many mental health conditions

Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy can be used to treat many mental health conditions. There is an emphasis placed on any mental health condition that has potentially been caused by past traumas.

Depression, anxiety, trauma-related conditions like Post-traumatic stress disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, eating disorders and somatic disorders are just some of the conditions that can derive benefit from Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy.

3. Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is a long-term treatment

Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is a long-term treatment. A patient using this form of therapy is not going to see a change overnight. Instead, they will notice a gradual improvement over a long period of time, potentially months.

The NHS offers Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy for up to a year in some cases. At a minimum, it would normally run for a couple of months. For those going private, Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy can run for years if needed.

4. The patient is asked to talk freely in sessions

A typical Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy session will typically see the patient being asked to talk freely about what is on their mind. The therapist will then aim to identify common themes and try to read between the lines.

They can then help the patient identify certain areas that may be having a negative impact on the patient’s life. If necessary, they can then probe closer, and potentially uncover past traumas if necessary.

5. Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy involves the discussion of trauma

A key part of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is talking about and processing past traumas. This can be a difficult experience, and cause a range of emotions. It can therefore be a difficult therapy to go through.

There is the risk that a memory that had been completely repressed by an individual could be remembered, and that a person reacts in an unpredictable way. Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is a therapy that can have both positive and negative impacts.

Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy involves a close bond between therapist and patient

6. Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy largely seems effective

A lot of research into Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy has taken place. Most of the research is positive, with studies showing that many people find that Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy helps them hugely.

It is particularly useful for those with past trauma that they need assistance with in processing it healthily. Some research posits that Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is limited for many people. But most research points to Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy being a very helpful therapy.

7. There are questions over Freud’s theories

Despite the positives associated with Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy, many have questioned Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis – which underpins Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy.

Freud’s theory doesn’t really take into account individual differences from person-to-person and condition-to-condition, instead lumping them all together. As a result, many suggest his theory is flawed, or at the very least, outdated.

8. Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is good for the long-term

One of the biggest strengths of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is its impact on a person’s long-term future. It will typically result in a person coming to terms with a past trauma, or at the very least improving their wellbeing.

With this problem cleared, it can often lead to the patient feeling that a large weight has been lifted off of their shoulders. For someone that has been struggling for a long time, this can be invaluable.

See Also


This website should be used purely for informational purposes, and does not intend to, nor should it ever, be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.

We strive to keep all of our pages updated, and ensure that our website is full of factual and in-depth information. However, we encourage you to browse this website with care.

As a reminder, this website and all content within it cannot and should not replace the advice of a trained medical professional. You can read our full disclaimer at this link.


If you are struggling with your mental health, help is available. With the right support and treatment, you can make a recovery. For information on helplines, or if you are in a state of crisis, please visit our crisis page by clicking on the relevant link for your geographical location (United Kingdom), (United States), (International). You can also see how to get mental health treatment and the process involved by clicking this link.