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Updated July 10, 2007

Psychoanalysis, developed by Sigmund Freud, is a rather detailed and complicated theory of personality and motivation - of what makes people do what they do. It is also a type of therapy. Simply put, psychoanalysis involves the exploration of a person’s unconscious thought processes through methods such as free association – saying whatever comes to mind – and dream analysis. The goal is to find and overcome those unconscious areas of resistance that block mental growth and cause mental illnesses.

Psychoanalysis, as practiced by Freud, has fallen out of favor as research has gained a more scientific perspective regarding motivation and mental health. However, the influences of Freud’s theories can be found throughout psychology, and components are incorporated in many current variations of therapy.

Pronunciation: sahy-koh-uh-nal-uh-sis
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