Psychoanalysis is based on the work of Sigmund Freud.
Freud observed that we know very little about the factors determining our emotions and behaviour. However we tend to believe that we know all. He understood that there is a conflict between what we know and what we don’t know, and saw that this conflict makes us suffer and fall ill.
Sometimes our suffering takes clearly identifiable forms such as depression, phobia, PTSD, OCD etc; mostly, however, we see it manifested as anxiety, stress, low self-confidence, difficulties in the workplace, relationship and love problems, and so on.
Freud invented psychoanalysis as a tool to investigate the psyche. With it, he attempted to bridge the gap between knowing and not knowing, question our certainties, and offer us insight and some relief.
Jacques Lacan was among the most influential of Freud’s students.
Lacan turned his attention to the speaking being as such.
A person who speaks always conveys a truth, Lacan said, even if they do not recognise it as such, or if sometimes they deliberately attempt to lie or forget.
In a Lacanian psychoanalysis the focus is placed on what the analysand says, and on the actual words the analysand chooses to use. There is a meaning in these words, and a truth revealed in them.
The task of the analyst is to help identify and bring this truth to light.