Why psychoanalysis helps

The American Psychoanalytic Association suggests that psychoanalysis helps patients:

  1. Get relief from painful emotional symptoms
  2. Feel understood as a unique individual
  3. Achieve emotional freedom
  4. Improve your personal relationships
  5. Become more productive at work
  6. Get more pleasure from life
  7. Change lifelong ways of coping that just aren’t working
  8. Understand feelings and behaviors that just don’t make sense
  9. Stop self-destructive patterns of behavior
  10. Gain greater control over your life
  11. Understand yourself
  12. Prevent the past from interfering in the present
  13. Talk things over in a safe and private environment

These results occur because the process of analysis actually relieves a person’s old unproductive, and often somewhat destructive, responses to problems or difficulties.  The theory is that a person’s response to a stressor becomes habitual early in life.  Psychoanalysis actually helps the patient examine and change responses to problems that may have once been effective, but that no longer serve the person productively.  A patient is thus freed from unsuccessful responses to problems, and free to choose new behaviors that will be effective under the new circumstances.