[ sahy-koh-uh-nal-uh-sis ]
See synonyms for psychoanalysis on
  1. a systematic structure of theories concerning the relation of conscious and unconscious psychological processes.

  2. a technical procedure for investigating unconscious mental processes and for treating psychoneuroses.

Origin of psychoanalysis

From the German word Psychoanalyse, dating back to 1905–10. See psycho-, analysis

Other words from psychoanalysis

  • psy·cho·an·a·lyt·ic [sahy-koh-an-l-it-ik], /ˌsaɪ koʊˌæn lˈɪt ɪk/, psy·cho·an·a·lyt·i·cal [sahy-koh-an-l-it-i-kuhl], /ˌsaɪ koʊˌæn lˈɪt ɪ kəl/, adjective

Words that may be confused with psychoanalysis

Words Nearby psychoanalysis Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for psychoanalysis


/ (ˌsaɪkəʊəˈnælɪsɪs) /

  1. a method of studying the mind and treating mental and emotional disorders based on revealing and investigating the role of the unconscious mind

Derived forms of psychoanalysis

  • psychoanalyst (ˌsaɪkəʊˈænəlɪst), noun
  • psychoanalytic (ˌsaɪkəʊˌænəˈlɪtɪk) or psychoanalytical, adjective
  • psychoanalytically, adverb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for psychoanalysis


A method of treating mental illness, originating with Sigmund Freud, in which a psychiatrist (analyst) helps a patient discover and confront the causes of the illness. Many psychiatrists believe that these causes are buried deep in the unconscious of the patient and can be brought to the surface through such techniques as hypnosis and the analysis of dreams. Psychoanalysis emphasizes that mental illness usually originates in repressed sexual desires or traumas in childhood.

Notes for psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis is sometimes simply called analysis.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.