A Little Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

Abreaction: Discharge of emotions and affects linked to the revelation of a repressed experience under hypnosis.

Affect: A general term designating feelings linked to ideas rather than to emotions, which are linked to experiences with the real.

Agoraphobia: A form of phobia in which the phobic feels threatened in open spaces or out of doors.

Anxiety: Alarm and extreme tension arising from an imminent sense of threat due to a major flaw in the Ego’s defences, sometimes accompanied by a fear of total annihilation.

Bipolar: See manic-depressive psychosis.

Catharsis: The therapeutic effect of abreaction.

Conscious: The knowledge of self and others and awareness of one’s environment or internal mental processes immediately opposed to the sleeping state and states of anæsthesia or coma. It is also the individual human faculty of self-awareness in opposition to other animate beings or inanimate objects.

Delusion: A psychiatric term designating a false conception over which logic or the reality principle have no hold. Delusion is the manifestation of a disorder of thought.

Depression: A pathological form of mourning in which the individual feels dependent on an object towards which he or she feels hostile. In depression or melancholia the individual imagines that he or she has destroyed this object, but is incapable of living without it. Symptoms include a feeling of anxiety, abandonment, guilt and inhibition, accompanied by irritability, weariness and apathy.

Dream: The memory of mental activity occurring in sleep. Dreams have manifest content (as felt) and latent content (the object of interpretation). Dreams enact repressed desires and are therefore transformed and disguised in the preconscious in oneiric form.

Ego: This is the organized part of the mental apparatus as against the chaotic, instinct-driven Id. The Ego is that part of the personality one recognizes as one’s self and by extension the image of one’s body deriving from physical sensations.

Freudian slip: A mistake in speech or reading that is contrary to the initial conscious meaning due to interference by an unconscious desire that substitutes the speaker’s intention without their realizing.

Hallucination: The apparent perception of an external object not actually present. The patient in fact experiences an image arising from his or her mental apparatus that is then perceived as a full and complete reality.

Hypnosis: A state of consciousness and relaxation close to sleep in which the patient is suggestible. Hypnosis is a trance state induced progressively by the hypnotherapist.

Hysteria: A neurosis characterized by the presence of physical symptoms and the absence of any physical pathology and symptoms that perform a psychological function.

Id: Translating into Latin the German “das es”, the Id descends from the unconscious. It is prior to the Ego and contains in a chaotic and unstructured way the primary instincts in the form of energy. The id tends to satisfy impulsive needs according to the pleasure principle.

Induction: Relaxation procedure for achieving hypnotic trance.

Inhibition: Said of a process or function that is in a state of inhibition if deactivated by the action of another process or function.

Libido: (Latin “hunger”) A set of sexual urges that spread out in the form of mental energy with which the mental processes, structures and representations of objects are invested. The libido is a force whose source is the body or the id. The libido also exists in oral, genital and anal forms.

Manic: Mania is characterized by an acceleration of physical, sexual and mental activity leading to excitement and racing thoughts no longer disciplined by self-criticism.

Manic-depressive psychosis: Manic crisis in its acute chronic phase followed or preceded by periods of deep depression is considered a manic-depressive psychosis and is sometimes termed bipolar. One of its symptoms is often compulsive spending or purchasing beyond the patient’s means.

MDP: See manic-depressive psychosis.

Melancholia: See depression.

Œdipus Complex: The set of unconscious affects or feelings organized around the desire to possess only the parent of the opposite sex by eliminating the same-sex parent.

Paranoïa: A psychiatric term denoting a psychosis characterized by delusions of persecution or grandeur. Delusions are organized in coherent, steady systems and affect the patient’s actions.

Parapraxis: An action whose result is opposite to or different from its initial conscious goal due to interference by an unconscious desire that substitutes the speaker’s intention without their realizing.

Phobia: Anxiety or panic brought on by an object or situation, out of proportion with the real danger posed, e.g. a fear of spiders.

Preconscious: The preconscious refers to unconscious mental activities as they are being manifested, but which are not repressed and therefore likely to return to the conscious, e.g. during the process of dreaming.

Projection: A process by which instincts, desires, aspects of the Ego or certain internal objects are imagined as being located in someone else and then directed at oneself by a mirroring effect.

Psychoanalysis: A form of treatment of neurosis devised by the physician and neurologist Sigmund Freud in the 1890s. The therapy centres around free speech, the association of and ideas, interpretation and transference.

Psychosexuality: This is related to the mental aspects of sexual phenomena.

Psychosis: A psychiatric term designating mental illness as against neurosis, in which the patient is of sound mind.

Repression: The action of censorship and repression by which an idea, dangerous memory or desire unacceptable to the conscious or the Ego are made unconscious.

Schizophrenia: A functional psychosis whose symptoms are withdrawal of self, poverty of affect, delusions, hallucinations and states of confusion accompanied by broken syntax in expressing one’s thoughts.

Superego: Part of the Ego where critical self-assessment and other reflective activities develop. The Superego involves the internalization of the father figure and social rules.

Trance: A state of dissociation occurring in patients under hypnosis and bringing about the partial submission of their will to the hypnotist’s.

Transference: The process of displacement of the patient’s feelings, affects and ideas towards and onto the psychoanalyst due to his or her parental images.

Unconscious: Anything related to the mental processes about which a subject is unaware, especially the repressed unconscious, which is subject to the dynamics of censorship and resistance.