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Psychoanalysis: Strengths and Weaknesses Report

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Updated: Jun 14th, 2022

After working with patients suffering from psychological problems, Sigmund Freud developed psychoanalysis. Its strengths and weaknesses can be tricky to determine, even when discussing his idea. The theory argues that human beings develop in stages, and each developmental stage has its goals. If individuals do not satisfactorily go through any of the stages, they will experience anxieties in the future (Freud, as cited in Montana, 2013). Psychologists use this theory in treating psychological problems that occur in adults.

This report attempts to assess the strengths of psychoanalysis along with its weaknesses.

Role of Facilitator Based on the Psychoanalytic Theory

The main tool for handling problems that patients experience is transference. It helps the patients remember their childhood experiences (Corey, 1990). During the therapy, the therapists should create an environment that is better than the one the patient had while growing up. In case the patient encounters problems because of growing up with uncaring or excessively harsh parents, the therapists should try to be polite and understanding (Corey, 1990). They must provide an environment that helps their patients handle their problems better than they did when they were young.

Therapists also have the responsibility of convincing their patients to cooperate during the therapy. Convincing the patients involves asking the group to behave in a manner that can assure the patients that they are ready to help them handle their problems (Montana, 2013). The therapists should not label the patients uncooperative.

The other core responsibility of the therapist is analyzing the client’s history and linking it to the present. The history of the client is a very important element of psychoanalytic therapy. Therapists must know everything about the client’s past that can have an effect on the present.

Techniques Supported by Psychoanalysis


Transference entails going back into the client’s past. It helps the client retrieve all the anxieties that arose from the lack of solutions to conflicts that occurred in different development stages. The therapist and the group should help the client in retrieving the occurrences. They should then provide a good environment for the client to solve the conflicts easily.

Free Association

This method involves members of the group speaking out their problems freely. The most common method of free-association is the go-round technique. Members of a group sit on the round table, and each one of them utters the first thing that comes to his or her mind (Corey, 1990). This method reduces the dependency on therapists.


Interpretation is a method that group members and therapists use in analyzing cases of transference, dreams, feelings, and anxieties (Corey, 1990). Therapists apply it in free-association. In the contemporary application of interpretation, the interpreters do not have to give the true meaning of occurrences. They only attempt to give responses that are close to real meanings.

Dream Analysis

Dream analysis is an important skill in group counseling. Dreams express the feelings, pains, fears, and thoughts that an individual tries to suppress (Freud as cited in Corey, 1990). Therapists use this skill in determining their clients’ anxieties, feelings, pains, and thoughts.

Insights and Working Through

Insight is the process through which patients attempt to establish the cause of their problems. It involves a keen analysis of their childhood experiences. On the other hand, working through involves repeating interpretations and striving to overcome resistance.

Strengths of Psychoanalysis

  • It clearly explains the process of solving conflicts that arise from childhood
  • It allows the group to participate in the therapy as childhood friends of the patient

Weaknesses of Psychoanalysis

  • It blames mothers for most of the complications that occur in patients
  • It is very expensive for people with low incomes
  • It does not provide a long-term solution to the problems clients face

I would use this theory in practice because it helps establish the real cause of the patient’s problems. It also allows the group to participate in solving the problems.


Corey, G. (1990). Theory and practice of group counseling. Pacific Grove, Calif.: Brooks/Cole Pub. Co.

Montana, K. (2013). General psychoanalytic field theory: Its structure and application to psychoanalytic perspectives. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 33(3), 227-292. Web.

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