Siamak Movahedi, PhD. , Nahaleh Moshtagh, PhD.
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy is based on Freud's theory of the individual and his notion of psychic reality. Analytic work, contrary to other forms of therapy, aims to look beyond the manifest representations of things to discover or construct the rich layers of psychic reality that underlie the appearances. Psychoanalytic therapist deciphers the code of the deep structure by listening to the individual's personal narrative. Thus, the unconscious is considered a structuring code that provides syntax for the organization of one's ideas, wishes, feelings and memories. In other words, the unconscious provides syntax for a "discourse" for which the "vocabulary" comes from the subject's biography. The individual's biography as content is unfolded whithin the deep structure as form. That is the unconscious is transindividual and culturally shared by individuals, whereas the preconscious is individual and contains the person history. Although psychoanalytic theory has gone through profound changes since Freud, it continues to remain an elegant mode of listening to a patient. Contrary to other psychotherapeutic techniques, the analyst does not ask the patient to change, to give up his symptoms, to be normal, to adapt, or to behave in a particular way. The therapist is not to have any desire or plan for the patient but to help her discover her own desires rather than being the slave to other's demands. The psychoanalytic therapist is concerned with the patient's state of mind in the here and now of the analytic situation rather than the patient's life in the there and then of the external world. Inference about the state of mind is to be made through the narrative activities in the session. Psychoanalytic therapy unfolds through three critical processes: transference, countertransference and resistance. Transference is what the patient brings to the analytic situation. It is the patient's characteristic mode of conflict, perception, expectation, object relation, or definitions of situations. These internalized patterns tend to constrain the individual's external relations and to create problems that must be worked through. Transference also entails an emotional involvement with the therapist, not as a real object but as a projected figure from the past. Countertransference is what the therapist brings to the psychoanalytic situation. It consists of all of the therapist's subjective states, blind spots and attitudes toward the patient. Resistance is any defensive interpsychic activity that interferes with the analytic process.
The analytic situation is considered to be both a laboratory and an operation room for scientific and clinical work. The emotional climate of the analytic situation is of critical importance in interpreting any exchange in the analytic hour.