psychoanalysis

(Greek: psyche, soul; analuo, to analyze)

A system of examining the soul, especially the faculty of memory, in order to discover possible experiences of the past which may account for present conditions, mental ailments, such as discouragement, weakness of will, anxieties, melancholy, inordinate fears, remorse. No doubt a scrutiny of the past helps one to correct what has been wrong and to regulate the present. However, it requires extraordinary discernment to recall one's past correctly, exceptional honesty to face it, and heroic frankness to reveal it to others, especially when one has no guarantee of their ability to analyze it correctly or fidelity to keep it secret. Confidence in the system has been much impaired by the fact that its practitioners seek to explain all mental conditions by previous sex experiences, and cannot appreciate the fact that sex is only one of the many factors in human experience, and by far the least important factor in the lives of countless thousands.

New Catholic Dictionary

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