In the late 19th century, Sigmund Freud first introduced his theory of psychoanalysis, which has since evolved into a much more inclusive and diverse form. His concept defined psychology as the study of unconscious mental processes and focused on how people cope with psychological traumas through repression or sublimation of painful memories. Since then, Humanists have adjusted this definition to become more accepting of different types of psychological experience, including spiritual matters. As psychoanalysis has moved beyond Freud’s original framework, it has been adopted by various fields such as cinema and media in order to better understand human behavior.
One example is Carl Rogers’ humanistic approach to therapy, which emphasizes unconditional positive regard for clients while focusing on their own subjective experiences (Kramer & O’Neill-Fernandez 2019). This style is popularly used in movies like Good Will Hunting (Van Sant 1997) where the main character visits a psychoanalyst and uses introspection to self-actualize and overcome his emotional struggle. Furthermore, media today often utilizes terms from psychoanalysis such as “projection” or “regression” in order to explain certain phenomena or behaviors (Luborsky et al., 1982).
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