Catholic Dictionary




A form of practical psychology whose purpose is to diagnose, cure, and prevent mental disorders. Among the many schools of psychoanalysis, including those of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Alfred Adler (1870-1937), and Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), four principles seem to be agreed upon: 1. the unconscious life of a person is of main importance in determining a person's conscious and overt behavior; 2. early infancy and childhood play a determinant role in shaping one's later life; 3. conversation about one's problems, by bringing the unconscious to the surface, is an essential part of treatment; 4. a reorientation of one's philosophy of life is necessary to avoid the onset or recurrence of mental disorder. (Etym. Greek psyche, soul, principle of life, life + analyein, to loosen, break up.)