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Psychoanalysis is primarily a method of psychotherapy developed by Sigmund Freud. According to psychoanalytic theory, anxiety is due to the presence in us all of certain threatening sexual or aggressive urges, wishes or motives springing from the id. These urges come into conflict with the realistic barriers imposed by the ego and the taboos of society incorporated in the superego. We repress the urges and conflicts – hide them from conscious awareness in the unconscious mind. We cannot consciously think about or verbalize a repressed desire. But the urge is still there in the unconscious mind, driving for expression though always in conflict with the ego and superego. We are afraid to express the id impulses. This fear is called anxiety. Various normal and abnormal defense mechanism develop in us to reduce anxiety. Abnormal neurotic behaviors occur when the defenses distort reality to such a degree that an individual’s ability to function is impaired.
The aim of psychoanalytic therapy is to lessen anxiety and the need for exaggerated defense mechanisms through self-understanding and knowledge of the sources of anxiety. Psychoanalysis emphasizes free association, the phenomenon of transference, and the development of insight. Psychoanalysis helps a person understand himself better. The goal of psychoanalysis is for patients to acquire self-understanding and knowledge of the sources of anxiety.
We will now see how practice of meditation works effectively as psychoanalytic technique. During meditation the mind is at first apt to wander. But let any desire whatever arise in the mind, we must sit calmly and watch what sort of ideas are coming. By continuing to watch in that way the mind becomes calm, and there are no more thought waves in it. Those things that we have previously thought deeply have stored into unconscious mind and therefore these come up at the surface of conscious mind during meditation. This is sort of catharsis. We may call it ‘auto-catharsis’ or ‘catharsis within’. Meditation provides us insight, self-understanding and increases our will power. Meditators are fearless.