As most people already know, psychoanalysis bases itself firstly on the exploration and evaluation of one’s unconscious, the conflicts that reside in it and interfere with day to day behavior. In general, from this interference unhappy effects are generated, such as anxiety, phobia, depression and compulsions. Some psychoanalysts, like Strachey, pointed out that the misinterpretations of the analyst by the patient should be observed and understood. It is often the analysis frame which generates obstacles that get in the way of a fluent stream of thoughts. These obstacles are frequently about the timing of the sessions, the fees the patient needs to pay to the analyst and the need itself to talk to the ones they pay. This frame was first defined by Robert Langs as he also pointed out that there will always be a hostile unconscious attitude towards this frame of therapy.
The first method of psychotherapy is the classical technique, although it was not one of the main focuses of Freud, as seen in his works. He even chose to drive his attention away from this one, function to the different types of problems of one patient or another. Allan Compton tried to outline the area of this therapeutic method, showing that in it there are more elements interwoven like advising the patient to say, or at least try to say everything that crosses his or her mind – instructions component, asking different types of questions in different moments of the therapy session – exploration component, focusing on certain things said by the patient and, together with him or her, trying to rephrase some parts in order to better stress their meanings – clarification component and, last but not least, making the patient pay attention to some of the things he does or says during the session that can describe defensive or aggressive emotions or thoughts.
During the therapeutic process, there is a number of interpretation methods that can be applied either singularly or combined. Some of these refer to genetic interpretation of facts, in which a past event influences the present, dynamic interpretation, in which is explained how, for example, guilt is fought with by being nice to people around, dream interpretation which manages to connect current feelings of the patient about his or her own dreams and see how they fit in current issues and resistance interpretation, which makes the patient aware of his or her own resistance towards the therapist or the methods applied during the session. Therapists also use, when the situation requires, the method of reconstruction, by trying to simulate and determine past events that might have led to the current condition.
Conflict theory is the base for these techniques, but there was a permanent development in this direction, also helped by the work of Ainsworth, Beebe and Bowlby. Empathy and attunement to the patient condition have greatly helped in finding ways to interpret and understand the patient, as well as helping him bring events forth from his unconscious. By sharing events, situations and attitudes from his or her own life, the analyst manages to connect even better to the patient. These approaches work especially well in the case of patients with psychotic or near psychotic conditions.