Was Freud Wrong?

Sigmund Freud is perhaps the most famous and recognizable name in the history of psychology. In many ways, he is responsible for the advancements in psychotherapy that we have today, offering a new way of thinking that has changed how we view mental health.

Back in his time, he developed an approach to clinical psychology known as “psychoanalysis.” This approach was once the gold standard in psychological care. It is also, very, likely, wrong.

What is Psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis is believe in mental health that focuses on the influence of subconscious conflicts that exist within the person, and lead to pathologies such as anxiety, depression, and more. Clash between the Id (the desire part of a person) and the superego (the moral conscious) are the primary reasons that people struggle with mental health and their related behaviors.

The belief in psychoanalysis is that these issues are shaped by early experiences that are mostly set by age 4 to 5. For example, if a child was weaned off of the breast too early, this may lead to issues related to attachment. That is the reason that there is a running cliché in the field of psychology that a person’s problems are related to their relationship to their mother.

Does Psychoanalysis Work?

There are still some psychologists, particularly here on the East Coast, that still subscribe to this approach. It involves multiple sessions per week, where the therapist takes more of a passive role and allows the patient to express their subconscious. Once they share their thoughts, the therapist makes an interpretation.

But psychoanalysis is also quickly falling out of favor in the mental health field. Studies have not shown that psychoanalysis has correctly identified the cause of mental health issues, nor has the treatment proven much more effective than any alternatives. The causes of disorders are also unprovable, which in modern psychological is highly frowned upon, and the belief system tended to lend itself towards sexism.

That said, even though psychoanalytical theory doesn’t appear to be that useful or accurate, many of the fundamental principles and concepts that Freud brought into the field of psychology have proven useful as a guiding principle for research. So while many practitioners do not subscribe to psychoanalysis as their primary approach, his theories still have a lasting, valuable effect on modern psychology.

For more information, or if you feel like you’d benefit from psychological counseling on Long Island, call me today.