David Weiss sat down on his therapist’s couch on Thursday troubled by moments of emptiness that made him ask himself, “Is this it?” After talking it through with her, however, he realized that such experiences could be peaceful, and even welcome, if he viewed them with a different mind-set.

Weiss has been in psychoanalysis for three years, but his experience has many distinctions from the theories that the field’s founder, Sigmund Freud, outlined in the early 1900s. No talk of the “id,” “ego” and “superego.” No mention of an Oedipus complex. But the ideas of connecting the past to the present and examining the unconscious mind remain at the core of a therapy that patients like Weiss have found helpful in approaching everyday life.

“You can start connecting different parts of how you think in a new way,” said Weiss, 38, a blogger and music journalist in New York. “It can be extremely productive; it can also be incredibly frustrating.”

Psychoanalysis as a therapy became somewhat marginalized decades ago as biological and behavioral approaches gained recognition, but plenty of mental health professionals still practice some variation of it, and Freud’s ideas are crucial in a wide spectrum of therapies today. The American Psychoanalytic Association, a professional organization with more than 3,000 members, will have its 99th annual meeting this week. It will include discussions of applying Freud’s ideas in a modern context.

“Pure psychoanalysis is not as popular or well-known as it was in the ’50s and ’60s, for example, but ironically I think it’s better than it was back then,” said Dr. Prudence Gourguechon, president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. …/ MORE

Do psychologists still listen to Freud? –


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