Psychoanalytic psychotherapy, overcome the vicious circle

Written by: Neus García Guerra
Published: | Updated: 03/11/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Psychotherapy is a treatment psychological intended to resolve the conflict between the impulses of the ego and superego suffered by the individual and manifests itself through symptoms.

And in the personality of every individual confluence of three factors:

  • Instincts: biological force which impulses arise
  • He: adapts impulses to reality
  • The superego: is responsible for self-criticism

Thus psychoanalytic psychotherapy aims to help this purpose, offering a different response, knowledge and understanding of their way of doing, making the patient conscious what is unconscious.

Meanwhile the patient begins to observe and understand their actions, which will facilitate learning from the experiences thus promotes development and reduces the tendency to repetition.

The therapist helps the patient to bring awareness to an amount of energy of the pulses and endure and endure the anguish that may lead. So he learns to differentiate between their inner reality and external reality, as he is presenting in small doses his real self, being able to perceive reality without being distorted by their perception of it.


psychotherapeutic treatment

At the point that the patient presents, his ego is so at the mercy of impulses and superego can only cope with reality if it is administered in small doses. These doses are those that the therapist gives in the form of interpretations, ie, describing the patient's unconscious mental processes, who so far only knew these processes through symptoms, such as difficulties in interpersonal relationship, anxiety, etc.

A change in the patient is obtained through a process of mental reorganization, which is reached through the relationship with the therapist and on the basis of the discovery of fantasies, feelings, desires, meanings, etc is ...

This reorganization allows the patient to learn new forms of behavior towards oneself and towards others. This means increasing understanding of himself so that can more freely use their skills and resources to handle the reality around him and satisfy their emotional, impulsive and social needs.

As with pneumonia, that cure the symptoms of fever and cough disappear, psychological symptoms are no longer necessary and disappear.

In conclusion, the therapeutic process is divided into:

1. Purpose: Allow mental patient organization can break the vicious circle and continue his progression.

2. Main alteration: The conflict between the impulses, ego and superego of the patient's personality.

3. Modification: It performs a series of many small steps, by the action of interpretation, to make the patient aware of the unconscious.

4. Objective: To strengthen me and allow properly handle those impulses and emotions against which, so far, has failed in the function of synthesis and integration of its own.


The Framework of a therapist

For this process can take place a framework is needed, and needed surgery operating room.

This framework is established based on fixed elements:

The patient has a period that is his, marked by a specific days and a schedule that is always the same. The physical space where the sessions take place remains unchanged and place the patient and the therapist will also be the same.

All these elements are unchanged provide a specific, fixed references, favoring the emergence of variables to work. The less contaminated is by external reality you can be seen clearer internal reality of the patient. This is the way that less external variables involved and therefore changes depend more on the emotional state of the patient.


Example of psychoanalytic psychotherapy: phobia case

The case:

A 40-year-old hairdresser profession, go to the consultation have the following symptoms: trembling hands when cutting hair, only happens with some people, rude people who do not treat her well.

The symptom occurs first when started working 20 years ago. It happens with a person who states that the patient screamed and told him that he was doing wrong.

The patient is single, he lives with his mother, very dependent on this. He has had several relationships in which she canceled as a person, submitting to another and feeling mistreated.

His family says that her father died when she was 3 years old, the mother was a strong person who took care of the children were 4 guys and she the only daughter and the small. Remembers being protected by all, but without voice or vote, did what he was told.

In the therapeutic relationship he expressed his desire to receive a list of behavioral guidelines intended to fulfill all that is ordered, submitting. By not receive the expected response appeared frustration, which might work. So he began to break the vicious circle of repetition, thanks to the knowledge and understanding of the conflict.


He had moved to work the unresolved relationship with his mother. Aggressive impulses towards it could not be recognized, the had to move and invest where others are those who attack him.

The superego of the patient did not tolerate these aggressive impulses could not be separated from the mother, because he considered separation as aggression. So, that was submitted or assaulted. Would leave his mother for the patient meet her aggressive feelings and not just independent.


As the patient could recognize their aggressive feelings, tolerating were his ways, he could also perceive others properly, without distortions.

Its strengthened, could exercise its function of integration to pulses that could be accepted, with the help of a super-I that could tolerate. And as a result he could adequately distinguish external reality and reality.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Neus García Guerra

Renowned specialist in psychology, with more than 30 years of experience. Mrs. García Guerra is an expert in Psychotherapy by the European Federation ooo Psychologists Associations (EFPA) and Master in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy by CEEP. On the other hand, he is a member of the Full Law of the Catalan Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (ACPP). He currently combines his private activity at the Center Sarrià, of which he is a co-founder, with his professional activity as a psychotherapist and head of teaching at the Public Institution Sant Pere Claver.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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