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The theory of psychoanalysis was developed by Sigmund Freud, an Austrian psychologist, in the last and first quarters of the 19th and 20th centuries respectively. Psychoanalysis refers to a specific type of therapy in which the psychoanalyst attempts to remove neurosis from patients through systematic restoration of the damaged ego to its normative state (Owen, 2004, p. 117). It is widely believed to be capable of providing treatment to neurotic patients.


The psychoanalysis as formulated by Sigmund Freud is based on a number of assumptions as outlined in this section:

a) Human behavior is a subject to irrational drives that are generally unconscious.

b) Any substantial psychological attempt to create awareness of such unconscious drive is always encountered by resistance that manifest in many forms of latent disturbances.

c) An individual’s development is largely influenced by early childhood experiences though inherited traits of personality may also play part but to a smaller extent.

d) Psychological problems such as neurosis, anxiety, neurotic trait, and depression are direct result of the imminent conflict between the repressed unconscious drive and reality of consciousness as well as unresolved issues during individual’s development.

e) Treatment of any psychological problem can only be achieved by bringing the repressed conflict to consciousness through a specialized guidance (psychotherapy).

The theory of psychoanalysis has proven very effective in understanding the possible causes of depression and other anxiety disorders. Before the formulation of psychoanalysis theory, very little was known about the correlations between the past childhood experiences and the occurrence of the psychological disorders later on in the lives of individuals. As explained by Henry Daren (2008), “psychoanalysis theory establishes that nasty childhood experiences and other unresolved conflicts later lead to depression and anxiety disorders.”The mental testing movement in psychology in the late 19th and 20th centuries concentrated on human intelligence, personality development and various psychotherapies for the psychological disorders.

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