psy·​cho·​anal·​y·​sis | \ ˌsī-kō-ə-ˈna-lə-səs How to pronounce psychoanalysis (audio) \

Definition of psychoanalysis

: a method of analyzing psychic phenomena and treating emotional disorders that involves treatment sessions during which the patient is encouraged to talk freely about personal experiences and especially about early childhood and dreams

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Other Words from psychoanalysis

psychoanalyst \ ˌsī-​kō-​ˈa-​nə-​list How to pronounce psychoanalysis (audio) \ noun

Examples of psychoanalysis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Because, as Rose says, For psychoanalysis, nothing perishes in the mind. Claire Messud, Harper's Magazine, "New Books," 27 Apr. 2021 Freud having said the quote, but the quote would also go against Freud's philosophy of psychoanalysis. Bayliss Wagner, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Quote about 'fear of weapons' misattributed to Sigmund Freud," 18 May 2019 Sigmund Freud, the creator of psychoanalysis, viewed religious feeling as an expression of the childhood need for a father’s protection. Joseph Loconte, National Review, "How C. S. Lewis Accepted Christianity," 4 Apr. 2021 We are thrust into the minutiae of the writer’s finances, feuds and psychoanalysis. New York Times, "Philip Roth Was His Own Favorite Subject. What’s Left for a Biographer?," 30 Mar. 2021 As with all returns of the repressed, Solms’s exhumation of psychoanalysis is sure to be unnerving, especially for those who want to deny Freud’s lessons about the workings of desire, fantasy and affect in our mental life. Washington Post, "A brain researcher on what Freud got right," 26 Feb. 2021 At age 16, Greene underwent psychoanalysis and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Washington Post, "The dramatic — and embellished — life of Graham Greene," 15 Jan. 2021 Founded by French poet, essayist and critic André Breton, Surrealism rejected the premise that culture and politics should be guided by rational principles, instead elevating dreams, automatism and psychoanalysis. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "Step Into a Surrealist World Populated by Horse-Shaped Lamps and Bicycle Tables," 16 Nov. 2020 Elliot Greenebaum, a filmmaker, started psychoanalysis as a patient 10 years ago. Anne Steele, WSJ, "Pandemic, New Platforms Prompt Surge in New Therapists," 4 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'psychoanalysis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of psychoanalysis

1906, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for psychoanalysis

New Latin

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Time Traveler for psychoanalysis

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The first known use of psychoanalysis was in 1906

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Statistics for psychoanalysis

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Psychoanalysis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for psychoanalysis



English Language Learners Definition of psychoanalysis

: a method of explaining and treating mental and emotional problems by having the patient talk about dreams, feelings, memories, etc.


psy·​cho·​anal·​y·​sis | \ ˌsī-kō-ə-ˈnal-ə-səs How to pronounce psychoanalysis (audio) \
variants: also psychanalysis \ ˌsī-​kə-​ How to pronounce psychoanalysis (audio) \
plural psychoanalyses\ -​ˌsēz How to pronounce psychoanalysis (audio) \

Medical Definition of psychoanalysis

1 : a method of analyzing psychic phenomena and treating mental and emotional disorders that is based on the concepts and theories of Sigmund Freud, that emphasizes the importance of free association and dream analysis, and that involves treatment sessions during which the patient is encouraged to talk freely about personal experiences and especially about early childhood and dreams
2 : a body of empirical findings and a set of theories on human motivation, behavior, and personality development that developed especially with the aid of psychoanalysis
3 : a school of psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy founded by Sigmund Freud and rooted in and applying psychoanalysis

More from Merriam-Webster on psychoanalysis

Nglish: Translation of psychoanalysis for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about psychoanalysis

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