In general, the following can perhaps be said: Psychoanalysis is dedicated to the unconscious in man and tries to make it conscious and thus accessible to processing and change. This requires a certain presence, a „being there“ of the psychoanalyst, which he offers to his clients. In the context of psychoanalytical work, the essence of which, in my experience, can only be discovered if one has experienced it oneself, the analyst makes use of so-called interpretations, with the help of which meaning is captured and understood, and sometimes can only arise.
The neurologist Prof. Dr. Sigmund Freud is the discoverer of psychoanalysis. Others, who also dealt with human mental life, such as Melanie Klein, Wilfred R. Bion, Anna Freud, Karl Abraham, Donald Winnicott, Jacques Lacan, André Green or Antonio Ferro, to name just a few, have further researched and developed Freud’s discoveries, worked them out in different directions and finally quite different currents within psychoanalysis have emerged, but all of them are to be understood as psychoanalysis.
Psychoanalysis is a method to investigate the human mental life, but also to influence it – Freud once said: to improve the ability to work and love. This is also used when symptoms occur and the person concerned suffers mentally – psychoanalysis can then be used in the form of analytical psychotherapy as a method of treating mental disorders and mental illnesses.
Furthermore, psychoanalysis offers its own theoretical constructs that provide information about the nature and functioning of the „psychic apparatus“ and the processes that take place within it; the choice of words may be somewhat clumsy, since the mental is much more organic and plastic than technical. Without this listing claiming to be complete, psychoanalysis is also an own science.
Psychoanalysis assumes that there is an unconscious in every human being. This actively evades the attempt of conscious access. The unconscious therefore tries to remain unconscious and meets its revelation, its awareness with resistance. If one follows this essential basic assumption of psychoanalysis, then it results in the realization that something is within us and works there and contributes to one’s own spiritual or mental being without us being able to directly influence it.
Despite the resistance described above, psychoanalysis attempts to make the unconscious conscious; this is certainly also a common feature of all different psychoanalytic currents.
In psychoanalysis there is the assumption that experiences, for example in relationships that we have gathered at earlier times in our lives (sometimes very early, for example in childhood, toddlerhood or infancy, sometimes even prenatally), can have a significant influence on our emotional being, also as adults, and sometimes for our entire life. Sometimes there are things that may have happened to a person, but never really got into his Experience – perhaps because at the time of their appearance they represented such an overload for the mental system, that they had to be banished directly into the unconscious and therefore were not allowed to become conscious at all.
In psychoanalysis, which is aimed at raising awareness, these things can come to life. This happens in the client’s relationship with the psychoanalyst and makes psychoanalysis sometimes uncomfortable, unpleasant – and sometimes also an imposition. But then it can become a profoundly changing experience to experience how this previously unconscious and sometimes also very painful, bulky and „indigestible“ becomes transformed and thus „digestible“ within the psychoanalytic process.
In my private practice in Cologne I offer psychoanalysis; this also apart from illnesses and symptoms, purely as an exploration and development space for my clients. Psychoanalysis usually takes place four to five times a week, lying on the couch.