Psychoanalytic and psychoanalytical are used in English. The latter is the older term, and at first simply meant ‘relating to the analysis of the human psyche’. But with the emergence of psychoanalysis as a distinct clinical practice, both terms came to describe that. Although both are still used, today, the normal adjective is psychoanalytic.
Psychoanalysis is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as
A therapeutic method, originated by Sigmund Freud, for treating mental disorders by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the patient’s mind and bringing repressed fears and conflicts into the conscious mind, using techniques such as dream interpretation and free association. Also: a system of psychological theory associated with this method.
Through the scope of a psychoanalytic lens, humans are described as having sexual and aggressive drives. Psychoanalytic theorists believe that human behavior is deterministic. It is governed by irrational forces, and the unconscious, as well as instinctual and biological drives. Due to this deterministic nature, psychoanalytic theorists do not believe in free will.
Freud first began his studies on psychoanalysis in collaboration with Dr. Josef Breuer, especially when it came to the study on Anna O. The relationship between Freud and Breuer was a mix of admiration and competition, based on the fact that they were working together on the Anna O. case and had to balance two different ideas as to her diagnosis and treatment. Today, Breuer can be considered the grandfather of psychoanalysis. Anna O. was subject to both physical and psychological disturbances, such as not being able to drink out of fear. Breuer and Freud both found that hypnosis was a great help in discovering more about Anna O. and her treatment. The research and ideas behind the study on Anna O. were highly referenced in Freud’s lectures on the origin and development of psychoanalysis.
These observations led Freud to theorize that the problems faced by hysterical patients could be associated with painful childhood experiences that could not be recalled. The influence of these lost memories shaped the feelings, thoughts and behaviors of patients. These studies contributed to the development of the psychoanalytic theory.