Psychoanalysis is considered as a treatment concept that relies on observation that people are often unconscious about various factors that influence their behavior and emotions. Originally the concept of psychoanalysis was developed by Sigmund Freud and later developed and modified by various experienced psychoanalysts. These unknown factors entail the source of considerable unhappiness and distress, where sometimes is acquires identifiable symptom trait and at other times troubling personality characteristic. Those factors may, therefore, cause difficulties in love relationship or the workplace, or mood disturbances and self-esteem. Because those factors are unknown, the advice of family and friend, self-help books, or even the effort of will, often fail to provide relief.
Psychoanalysis assumes that the unconscious mind influences the behavior of an individual. Freud as the founding father held that the human mind comprises of three elements: the superego, the ego and the id. Initially, Freud was trained as a neuroscientist but he later made a shift to the psychoanalysis. Freud disregarded the brain possibly because the concept of the brain was not appealing to him. Furthermore, Freud passion was on discovering the psychological predispositions of psychodynamic process.
Some psychoanalysts point out that there is an interconnection between human conundrum and psychoanalytic theory and technique through the Freud and Ferenczi relationship. Through comparing the work, conflicts and struggle of Ferenczi and Freud, Kilborne, (2008) argues that the psychoanalysis can take another view. Consequently it is from their writing and correspondence that a portrait of the relationship is derived. Thorough comparison of the two figures can enhance understanding of psychoanalysis because the two are reputable figures in the field of psychoanalysis. Their rationale ideas about their argument and researches match with their emotions. Therefore, one can understand psychoanalysis from their struggling relationship that include boundary and friendship, transference and countertransference, rivalry and despair, and about shame.
Kilborne, (2008) provides a comparison based analysis and relationship of relationship between Freud and Ferenczi to shape up the psychoanalysis thought. Ferenczi concentrated on understanding the scope of childhood humiliation and trauma. By this understanding, an individual can understand the significance of the regression in working such trauma through. Ferenczi described regression experientially, in conjunction with "shameful, regressive fears of separation from analyst, exacerbated by his relationship with Freud" (Kilborne, 2008). From the analysis of the relationship between the theoreticians, Kilborne provided a reminder that theoretical progress is insignificant if it does not allow physicians to be more effective and respectful to their patients. In addition, the difficulties encountered in human relationship can be solved by psychoanalytic work. Form the two theoreticians' "professional responsibilities, their friendships, their loyalties, their ambitions, and their anxieties can serve as useful reminders that no theory, no matter how contemporary, can save us from struggles of a similar kind."
However, in the contemporary world psychoanalysis faces many challenges as a result of technological improvement on research. Peter Fonagy tries to analyses the unwarranted position of psychoanalysis in the recent days where there are brief structured interventions and empirically validated treatments. As a result of empirically validated treatments and structure intervention, many psychoanalysts doubt whether the psychoanalysis is an effective approach of treatment for a psychological problem. Fonagy found out that, although there is growing and significant evidence base for the effectiveness of psychoanalysis, a problem of empirically based therapy criteria is bound to occur. Furthermore, the lack of empirically based evidence results to the epistemic difficulties encountered by psychoanalysts in the modern world. Consequently, there are philosophical challenges limiting psychoanalysis as a model of the mind (Fonagy, 2003). From the invention of Freud, the psychoanalysis calls for potential changes, in the future, to safeguard and improve psychoanalytic and psychoanalysis therapies within psychiatry.
With the changes in the model of psychoanalysis, the prevailing stage of psychology is anticipated to benefit and improve in the future, as well. An approach to improve the psychoanalysis concept takes the direction of identifying the limitations or challenges, which are involved in the evidence base. Fogany (2003) identified one of the challenges as lack of empirically proven evidence base. According to Fonagy (2003), psychoanalysis can only help to improve psychology in the modern days if "it has to show its mettle in the battlefield of systematic laboratory studies, epidemiological surveys or qualitative exploration in the social sciences."
Therefore, taking into consideration the challenges identified by Fogany, psychoanalysis can be improved in different ways. First, order to improve psychoanalytic and psychoanalysis therapies, the psychoanalytic specialists must embrace a more systematic outlook approach. The systematic outlook can be changed through; first, strengthening the evidence base of psychoanalysis by utilizing the modern data-gathering techniques. Secondly, the psychoanalytic discourse should stop over relying on global and rhetoric constructs and adopt specific constructs that involve cumulative data-gathering. Thirdly, defects in psychoanalytic scientific reasoning, such as genetic and social influence, should be handled with increased sophistication. Finally, "the isolation of psychoanalysis should be replaced by active collaboration with other mental health disciplines" (Fonagy, 2003).
After analysis of the trends of psychology, the results indicated that the psychoanalysis school has been experiencing tremendous fall over a period of years relative to other schools such as cognitive psychology. A study carried out by Richard et al. (sssss) attempted to examine the prominence trend of four distinct schools in scientific psychology. These widely recognized schools include psychoanalysis, cognitive psychology, behaviorism and neuroscience. The study utilized three measures of prominence to derive the following trends. First, the mainstream scientific psychology has been disregarding the psychoanalytic research over the past few decades. Second, the cognitive psychology has been experiencing upward trajectory and persistently continue to be the most significant school. Third, the behavioral psychological has been experiencing a decline due to the appreciation of the cognitive psychology. Finally, neuroscience has experienced uncertain increase in mainstream psychology regardless of the evidence for its obvious overall growth. The study found out that psychoanalysis school is among schools that are not commonly used in the contemporary world. Therefore, the results can be used as a stepping stone for discussing various opinions of scientific prominence, and how to improve psychoanalysis. Similarly to Fonagy, this study concluded "psychologists should evaluate trend in the field empirically, not intuitively.” Therefore, the study also calls for an adjustment in the field of psychoanalysis to make it better-off.
Richard et al. (2003), from the paradigmatic perspective, the big issue will not be the fact that cognitive psychology has achieved the dominant paradigm. Rather, the problem involves identifying the school that has the likelihood of achieving supreme status and presents the paradigmatic stage of psychological science development. Unfortunately, psychoanalysis seems to be too far from achieving this improvement. The study found out that, cognitive psychology has the highest likelihood to uplift the psychology to the Kuhnian stage of normal science. It is, therefore, an indication that more efforts in the psychoanalysis school are required so that it can reach the efforts of the cognitive psychologists.According to a study carried out by Richard et al. (2003), some of the trends on the schools of psychology concur with the predominant beliefs while some differed with those beliefs. The prominence of the four different schools outlined in the study can be used by the decision makers as a basis to determine whom to hire, how scientist explores human behavior, and what to publish. However, the research was conducted not to dictate how trends should be used in decision making, but to emphasis on the empirical exploration rather than mere assumptions.
In an attempt to modify the Freudian theory of psychoanalysis, many psychoanalysts have emerged with an attempt to make psychoanalysis theory appear more sensible. Freud argued the individual could acquire cure by changing their conscious thought into conscious one and motivations. On the other hand, two psychoanalysts, Winnicott and Bion developed two ideas that are interchangeably used in the psychoanalytic literature. Winnicott's ideology of holding and Bion's concept of the container-contained are recognized as the most significant contribution in the psychoanalysis field. However, the two sets of concepts are commonly confused and misinterpreted. However, according to Ogden, (2004) these ideas can be incorporated in the clinical work. The author delineates that the Winicott's holding is an ontological concept that fundamentally focuses on being and relationship to time. The example provided by the Ogden suggests that initially, the mother is the one responsible for continuity of being of her infant (Ogden, 2004). The mother protects the infant from the beginning of life until maturity where the infant progressively internalize his mother's emotional flux and holding of continuity of his being over time.
On the other hand, Bion's container-contained focuses on processing of thoughts resulting from lived emotional understanding. The container-contained concept outlines the self-motivated interaction of primarily unconscious thought referred to as "the contained." The idea also addresses the capacity of thinking and dreaming the unconscious thoughts, hence referred to as container.
The two psychoanalytic theories significantly contribute to the field of philosophy. With distinction and clear understanding the two ideas, an individual can be able to apply them in a psychological field or career. For instance, the concept of holding has a significant effect for motherly holding on the emotional development of the infant. The concept of holding ontological ideology that can be applied to evaluate particular "qualities of the experience of being alive at different developmental stages" (Ogden, 2004). When the two concepts are taken from the same analytic experience, an individual can develop a clear understanding and distinction among the two. While Winicott's holding primarily focuses on being and how it is related to time, container-contained idea centrally concentrates on the thoughts processing caused by lived emotional experience. Together, the two concepts provide a deep understanding of the emotional experiences involved in the analytic scenario.
Despite some effort from various psychoanalysts, the school of psychoanalysis seems not to fit in the contemporary world. Various measures have been identified to save this school from the declining trend. This paper, therefore, suggests that structured interventions and empirically validated treatments need to be incorporated into psychoanalysis.
Fonagy, P. (2003). Psychoanalysis today. World Psychiatry, 2(2), 73-80.
Kilborne, B. (2008). Human Foibles and Psychoanalytic Technique: Freud, Ferenczi, and Gizella Palos. The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 63(08), 1-23.
Ogden, T. (2004). On holding and containing, being and dreaming. Institute of Psychoanalysis, 85, 1349-64.
Robins, R. W., Gosling, S. D., & Craik, K. H. (2003). An empirical analysis of trends in psychology. American Psychologist. doi:10.1037//0003-066X.54.2.117