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Psychoanalysis was founded by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). The aim of psychoanalysis is to release repressed emotions and experiences. Freud believed that people could be cured by making their unconscious thoughts and motivation conscious.

Psychodynamic therapy, a form of psychoanalysis, helps people understand their inner world experiences. Inner world experiences consist of thoughts, emotions, body sensations and beliefs and memories from early-life experiences, to assist with developing insight into their lives and present-day problems and to evaluate patterns that may have developed over a period of time. The importance of recognising recurring patterns is significant. It allows people to see the ways in which they develop defense mechanism (such as denial, displacement, intellectualization or repression) or avoid distress as a method of coping so that they can take steps to change those patterns. Within psychodynamic therapy, the client is encouraged to speak freely about their thoughts, emotions, wishes, desires, and fears in order to reveal vulnerable feelings that have been pushed out of conscious awareness.

According to psychodynamic theory, behavior is influenced by unconscious thought, and once painful feelings are processed the defense mechanisms reduce or resolve. Another key element of psychodynamic therapy is the relationship between the Psychologist and client, as it can show the manner in which the client interacts with loved ones and his or her friends.

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