Is Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy the same as counseling?

There are similarities in that counsellors also work with individuals who are in emotional distress. However, counsellors usually focus on current problems and work with a client over a shorter time scale. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy seeks to go deeper, connecting current difficulties with past experiences. It is based on the in-depth understanding of the mind developed by psychoanalytic theorists.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy has some distinctive features arising from its aim of reaching the unconscious:

  • the use of free association, whereby the client speaks what is on his/her mind, without censoring it
  • working with the transference, i.e. the relationship with the psychotherapist in which some of the feelings from the client’s past are revived
  • working with dreams