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Psychoanalysis is a therapeutic approach and theory of personality developed by Sigmund Freud in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It posits that unconscious motives influence much of human behavior. Freud introduced psychoanalysis based on the idea that people’s behaviors are influenced by their childhood experiences and unconscious thoughts, desires, and fears.

Freud believed that the mind is divided into three parts: the id (instinctual desires), the ego (the realistic part that mediates between desires and reality), and the superego (moral standards). He suggested that psychological disturbances are largely caused by personal conflicts existing at the unconscious level. His therapy aimed to bring these unconscious conflicts to awareness through techniques like free association, dream interpretation, and transference analysis, where patients project feelings about important people in their lives onto the therapist.

Psychoanalysis has evolved over the decades, influencing many other psychological theories and therapies. Despite controversies and criticisms regarding its scientific validity and efficacy, it remains a foundational aspect of modern psychology, offering profound insights into the human psyche and emotional development.