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Psychanalysis vs. Psychotherapy

My work is based on the psychic survival of the person or on her harmonious intrapsychic development. I am going to share here the major points that differentiate, in my opinion, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.


Psychoanalysis: the Subject

  • uses free association
  • experiences his "unconscious"
  • pays attention to his dreams and his fantasies
  • identifies his drives and defense mechanisms
  • understands that his suffering has meaning and that sometimes, the body begins to speak
  • becomes an analysand during the treatment.

To spontaneously say everything that comes to the mind and do nothing –the "talking cure"- is facilitated by lying on the couch, though some patients will shun it, as if it were endowed with some power... The psychoanalyst does not encourage small talk, which does not mean he is silent.

The space-time of the analytical framework is subject to a process of "co-thinking" (cf. D. Widlocher), "co-creating" (cf. Winnicott) during the session.

"Normality" does not exist, the analysand is a Subject. Obviously, this is to modulate, especially with psychotic Subjects whose sufferings are expressed in different ways, unfortunately ill-adapted to modern society.


Psychotherapy: the person

  • builds a narrative of his suffering
  • rationalizes his personal experiences
  • relies mainly on the therapist's understanding, advice and judgement
  • focuses his attention on the symptom that motivates his request, without exploring further meaning and inner conflicts
  • avoids, unknowingly, being aware of his repetitions and psychic mechanisms
  • does not explore his childhood sexual experiences or archaic memories.

Because of its very nature, psychotherapy is shorter than psychoanalysis, although it may extend over a long period. It is an approach whose goal is clearly defined at the outset: to eradicate a symptom (the target). The subject seeks aid that is not apparently neutral.



The major difference in my opinion is:
· the therapist uses the patient's wishes, his motivation and will to change,
· the analyst relies on the person's desire.
Motivation does not lead to action because it is subordinated to what is beyond consciousness. The unconscious is not self motivated, it is desiring.