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Psychological Development and Wellbeing

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Psychological Development and Wellbeing concern the psychological state that every person feels and experiences during the different phases of the life cycle.

According to the definition given by the World Health Organization (1946) "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity".

However, Health and Wellbeing are dynamic states, always in need of continuous re-definition, and they can vary from person to person and in different times of life.

In any determined phave of life, external or internal situations can contribute to changes that one can find it difficult to cope with. 

This is the time to seek for help and to start promoting a change, before the current situation becomes too difficult and impacts on other aspects of life.

The role of a clinical psychologist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist is to assess the client's psychological experience in order to get to a broader understanding and eventually offer an appropriate treatment.

Enquiries about psychoanalysis are welcome for those interested in this form of treatment and are looking for a deeper approach to their recurrent struggles in life.

The definition of the therapeutic work, later called Psychoanalysis, as “talking cure”, or jokingly “chimney sweeping”, has to be given to one of the first patient cured by Breuer named “Anna O” (1893).

By means of the clinical work established with other patients by Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis gradually developed as it is considered today in its fundamentals. In 1923 S. Freud gave a broader definition of psychoanalysis as: 

1.    the name of a procedure for the investigation of mental processes which are almost inaccessible in any other way;
2.    a method for the treatment of neurotic disorders;
3.    a collection of psychological information obtained along those lines, which is gradually being accumulated into a new scientific discipline.

Thanks to its spread around the world and the contribution of many post-Freudian psychoanalysts, more recently psychoanalysis embraces different theories and clinical approaches, all associated by sharing specific core elements. Amongst others, one the most important is the existence of an unconscious psychic reality, traced back to significant early experiences, that influences the current life in its main manifestations: self, personality, relationships.

Psychoanalysis as a treatment can help unveiling the unconscious and let the person growing and changing in life, instead of just repeating established patterns if they did not work. In this sense psychoanalysis is not only considered a treatment to be practiced when someone is in need of care. The request for starting an analysis can be driven by the desire of the analysand (person undertaking a psychoanalysis) to get a better understanding of oneself. Psychoanalysis is therefore a process that can lead to reveal the creative parts of each person, feeling more productive and satisfied in life, and enabling the ‘true-self’ to emerge and the ‘ego’ to be strengthened.  

The method of psychoanalysis is based on a specific setting in which the analysand is lying on a couch and invited to talk freely, as a way to allow access to the unconscious. The analyst uses the so called ‘floating attention’ to listen to the analysand and promotes the use of ‘free association’ to the material emerged. 

Psychoanalysis is the most intensive form of psychoanalytic treatments, as it usually requires a deeper exploration into the inner world of the analysand.

Psychoanalytical  psychotherapy is based on the same theoretical framework of psychoanalysis but it differs in the setting: it is generally conducted with the analysand sitting on a chair. It can be focused on a specific theme/issue which is of significant relevance for the person’s life in a particular period.

At the beginning of a treatment, analysist and analysand agree on a ‘therapy contract’ making arrangements regarding time/length of sessions and payment, including a commitment to pay if unable to attend a session, unless a prior arrangements could be provided to re-schedule a time for a make-up session. 

Usually the initial meetings offered are part of a psychoanalytic consultation as the first steps to experience the psychoanalytic approach and method, and get an understanding of what it is like. A person can find a psychoanalytic consultation a therapeutic experience in itself whereas some others get to ask for psychoanalysis or psychoanalytical psychotherapy.