Psychoanalysis and the Role of Psychoanalysts in India

What is Psychoanalysis?

 Psychoanalysis is a type of therapy as well as theory given by Sigmund Freud. This believes that problems generate as people repress their deepest conflicts in their unconscious mind as they cannot cope with them consciously.

 Freud believed that these conflicts can only be solved by bringing them into consciousness. This was done by developing insight into the client.

What is the difference between Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy?

Psychoanalysis Psychotherapy
 This is the most traditional form of psychotherapy introduced to treat people with unresolved conflicts.  This is a broad spectrum which includes various forms of therapy used to treat mental health, behavioral problems, interpersonal conflicts and so on.
 Practitioners of psychoanalysis are required to go through their own analysis before becoming psychoanalysts.  It is not mandatory for all psychotherapists to undergo psychotherapy.
 Psychoanalysis is a long-term process and generally requires more than 1 year or 50 sessions depending on the progress of the patient.  Psychotherapy, on the other hand, is a short-term process and generally requires 16-20 sessions depending on the progress of the patient.
 Psychoanalysis focuses on the unconscious mind.  Psychotherapy focuses on the cognition and conscious behavior patterns of an individual.
 Psychoanalysis aims to build insight into a patient in order to make them self-aware and resolve their conflict with interpersonal relationships, sexuality and so on.  Psychotherapy aims at restructuring their thought processes and modifying behavior to restore their interpersonal relationships and act according to social norms.

 

What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

  • Psychodynamic therapy is a modern form of psychoanalysis introduced by neo-freudians.
  • It shows great concern for human personality along with the unconscious mind and dreams.
  • Unlike psychoanalysis, it focuses on the patient’s social and inner psychological relationships more than their relationship with the therapist.
  • It involves a short term treatment which usually take 15-16 sessions just like CBT.
  • It concerns treating the current behavior that resulted from childhood conflicts.

Psychoanalysis in India

Psychoanalysis was introduced to India by Dr. Girendrasekhar Bose. He was a psychiatrist who further took his masters degree in experimental psychology from the University of Calcutta. He was the first person to qualify as an analyst in India and, therefore, is known as the father of psychoanalysis in India. In 1922, He founded the Indian Psychoanalytic Society in Calcutta, which now includes several chapters all over India.

 

What is the role of a psychoanalyst in India’s mental healthcare system?

  • Psychoanalysts are professionals who practice psychoanalysis.
  • The main role of psychoanalysts is to build insight into the patients.
  • When people experience something difficult, their conscious mind tends to push it into unconsciousness. Therefore, the psychoanalysts help the individuals reveal the hidden emotions and conflicts and bring them into consciousness.
  • The psychoanalysts believe that hidden conflicts are expressed in the form of symbols through dreams, fears, Freudian slips (slip of tongue) etc.
  • They play a significant role in decoding these symbols and interpreting the actual meaning associated with these symbols.

What is the educational path for becoming a psychoanalyst in India?

Undergraduate Degree: The first step is to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as psychology, social work, or a related discipline.

Master’s Degree: Pursuing a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology or a related field is the necessary second step.

Psychoanalytic Training: After completion of post-graduation, specific psychoanalytic training has to be undertaken. This is a 5-year course which includes mandatory personal analysis by a training analyst in order to resolve their own conflicts. After the recommendation of the trainer, they are assigned a supervisor to guide them to treat clinical cases.

Clinical Experience: Psychoanalysis requires practical skills thereby working with patients under the guidance of experienced psychoanalysts is essential. Those who do not come from a Psychology background are first required to do an internship under a psychiatrist.

Licensure and Certification: In India, there isn’t a specific licensing process for psychoanalysts, but certification or membership from reputable organizations like the IPS is necessary to establish one’s credibility as a psychoanalyst.

 

Are there specific psychoanalytic institutes in India?

Name of the InstituteLocationWebsite
 Indian Psychoanalytic Society Kolkata https://ipsonline.in.net/
 Psychoanalytic Therapy & Research Centre Mumbai https://www.ptrcmumbai.com/
 Dr. Gitanjali Clinic For Psychoanalysis Psychotherapy And Counseling Chennai https://drgitanjaliclinicforpsychoanalysispsychotherapyandcounseling.business.site/
 Christ University Bangalore https://christuniversity.in/social-sciences/psychology/psychoanalytic-studies
 School Of Human Studies Delhi https://shs.aud.ac.in/programme/research-studies/58-mphil-psychoanalytic-psychotherapy

What are the common challenges that psychoanalysts face while practicing in India?

  • Cultural and social factors in India significantly influence the approaches employed by psychoanalysts. Psychoanalysis demands individuals to disclose intimate details of their minds, behavior, and experiences, but cultural stigma around mental health, parental conflicts, and sexuality deters people from choosing this approach, hindering them from overcoming cultural biases and discrimination.
  • There is limited opportunity to practice as a psychoanalyst in India.
  • Most patients prefer modern psycho-therapeutic approaches over psychoanalysis as it is time-consuming, expensive and has limited scientific evidence.
  • Psychoanalysis deals with the underlying hidden conflicts which often become difficult for the patient to deal with, thereby generating resistance in the patient. Resistance often leads to discontinuation of the analysis.
  • Apart from resistance, sometimes patients project their underlying conflicts onto the analyst. This is known as transference, which often interferes with the process of analysis. If the patient projects positive emotions onto the analyst (positive transference), they may become overly attached to the psychoanalyst. They may express emotions of love and care which are beyond the therapeutic relationship.
  • On the other hand, they may also project negative emotions onto the analyst (negative transference ). In this case, they may become hostile and show aggression and hatred towards the psychoanalyst, resisting the process of psychoanalysis.
  • Even after undergoing extensive psychoanalysis, psychoanalysts may experience counter-transference (when the positive and negative emotions of the psychoanalyst are attributed towards the patient ), thereby creating hindrances in the healing process.
  • As psychoanalysis is very subjective, psychoanalysts’ personal biases may interfere while interpreting and analyzing a patient’s condition.

What are the legal and ethical considerations for psychoanalysts in India?

LEGAL GUIDELINE:

  • In India, there is no requirement for liscensure to practice as a psychoanalyst. However, there are some strict guidelines that the person has to undergo before they can practice as a psychoanalyst.
  • It is mandatory for any aspiring psychoanalyst to undergo psychoanalysis themselves over an extensive period of time, in order to resolve their personal conflicts. It is needed to avoid interference with their personal needs, conflicts and biases in a psychoanalysis session.
  • Once they complete the course and their supervisor assures that they have successfully resolved their own conflicts through psychoanalysis, they may get a certification to become a psychoanalyst.
  • This certification from a well recognized institution is the most important qualification required to practice as a psychoanalyst.

ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS:

  • As far as ethics is concerned, the psychoanalysts are no different from clinical psychologists. They share similar ethical codes.
  • The psychoanalyst should be competent enough to conduct an analysis in a way that the patient is not harmed in anyway.
  • There should be mutual consent between the patient and the psychoanalyst before starting and terminating sessions.
  • Everything discussed in a psychoanalysis room should remain in the psychoanalysis room, protecting the confidentiality of the patient.
  • In no way should the psychoanalyst try to exploit or violate the rights of the patient.

What is the scope for research in Psychoanalysis in India

☆ Psychoanalysis, being the most dynamic area of psychology, provides a huge scope for research.
☆ Being interdisciplinary, it includes aspects from the fields of psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, sociology etc. Therefore, increasing the scope for research.
☆ As psychoanalysis delves deep into the qualitative aspect of research, there are a lot of areas unexplored, providing a huge scope for research.
☆ Some major areas, including trauma, developmental disorders, gender and sexuality, can be explored through psychoanalysis.
☆ There are psychoanalytic institutes that provide good opportunities to carry out research.

How has the rise of technology and online platforms affected the practice of Psychoanalysis in India?

◎ In present day, there has been a drastic rise in the use of online platforms for conducting psychoanalysis sessions in India.
◎ This use of technology has affected the practice of psychoanalysis in numerous ways, including both positive and negative.
◎ When the sessions are conducted online, it can be conducted from any place that is convenient for both the patient and the analyst, thereby reducing the cost and making the sessions more accessible.
◎  It also helps to bridge the physical distance between the analyst and the patient. No matter how far they stay from each other, the sessions can be conducted anytime.
◎ However, there are technical issues associated with technology. A stable internet connection and a safe platform are required to conduct online psychoanalysis, which is sometimes difficult to find.
◎ While conducting psychoanalysis online, analysts may miss out on some important nonverbal cues such as gestures and body language of the patient that may affect the therapeutic relationship.
◎ Although online platforms help to reach out to patients from anywhere, they also do not promise complete privacy.

How does the socioeconomic background affect the aspirants in choosing Psychoanalysis as their career in India?

➤ In India, there is limited scope for practicing psychoanalysis. Its training process requires a long-term investment, both academically and financially, which is often not feasible for individuals from a lower socioeconomic background.
➤ Psychoanalysis and psychotherapy both involve significant learning, but psychoanalysis requires a long-term commitment, which can be burdensome for families. In contrast, psychotherapy is more short-term and an evolving practice in India. However, psychoanalysts must undergo their own analysis and may face rejection as practitioners based on personal conflicts and skills.
➤ At times, after completing their own analysis, they might not feel ready to practice as a psychoanalyst due to awareness of their hidden internal conflicts.

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