Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Psychotherapies

Psychoanalytic theory and practice is essentially an enquiry into the human condition from psychopathology to the broader philosophical, social and cultural context. It is a qualitative enquiry into the deeper layers of human life and its meaning. Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Therapy is the psychotherapeutic application of psychoanalytic theory and the specific knowledge gained by the psychoanalytic method. It endeavours to facilitate understanding of the underlying, often unconscious, sources of a person’s distress or disturbance by increasing awareness of their inner world and its influence over relationships, both past and present. The therapeutic setting is considered to be of central importance as it provides support and containment for the processing of difficult emotions and experiences. It facilitates the exploration and expression of aspects of a person’s problems or conflicts which may be outside everyday conscious awareness, and which often originate from early experiences and ways of coping which adversely influence current life.

Psychoanalysis as a clinical activity is essentially a special form of dialogue. It is a method for experiencing and observing the unconscious processes going on in the mind. Psychoanalysis emerges out of observations gained by this method and the theories developed out of the conclusions made upon these observations. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy comprises several psychotherapeutic approaches in different settings for different groups of human beings with different problems and disorders. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy takes place with individuals, groups and with children.
Whilst psychoanalytic psychotherapies aim to help people with serious psychological disorders to understand and change complex, deep-seated dynamics, their role is not limited only to those with these concerns. Many people who experience a loss of meaning in their lives or who are seeking a greater sense of fulfilment also benefit from psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Often, it is about discovering how life might be different in peoples’ inner emotional lives and relationships; how to understand the past in order to go differently into the future. Generally speaking Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy is best considered as a long-term treatment involving considerable commitment for both patient and therapist.


Psychotherapists are required to engage in extensive personal psychotherapy during their training which is up to seven years duration. Psychotherapists usually have a first degree followed by a professional, highly specialised, theoretical and clinical training which includes research methodology and continuous professional development. The EAP promotes the recognition of common standards of training throughout Europe, and will ensure their mobility across member states.