Psychoanalysis, invented by Sigmund Freud, is a unique practice in treating mental suffering and is a revered approach to thinking about humanity and the world we live in. It is used in cultural, literary, film, and art theory and has links to philosophy, medicine, and neuroscience. Psychoanalysts are the most highly skilled and qualified clinicians working with people who seek talk therapy. Psychoanalysis has a rich history and tradition in Ireland and beyond.


The central element to psychoanalysis is the notion of the Unconscious. Freud formulated and developed the idea that the mental suffering he witnessed in his patients  was caused by elements from their past life which had been forgotten, hidden from consciousness; the treatment he was to develop enabled the patient to recall the experience to consciousness, to confront it in a deep way both intellectually and emotionally, and in thus discharging it, to remove the underlying psychological causes of symptoms. In short, the unconscious is the instigator of symptom formation.


He developed the method of free association, whereby the patient would be encouraged to say everything that came to their mind, no matter how silly, banal, illogical, or embarrassing it might seem, to allow unconscious material to emerge. Psychoanalysis began to be noticed as an entirely new method of treatment to help people gain release from their suffering through talking. Today very many people who go to a psychoanalyst begin by saying they just want to talk to someone, that they are unhappy or troubled or anxious and simply do not know why.