An exploration of how the use of the couch in psychoanalysis may impact the experience of analysis for the patient.

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O’Brien, Linda
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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In his work, Sigmund Freud advocated that all patients should recline on a couch during the process of psychoanalysis. This recommendation had practical considerations but also was significant in its removal of visual contact between the analyst and the patient. This work will examine the effects of this position on the experience of the client in analysis in terms of their ability to engage with both the analytic relationship and the analyst themselves. The paper is grounded in the classical Freudian concepts of resistance, free association and transference. The paper examines contemporary views on the subject in the context of the Freudian texts, as many modern analysts choose to forego the couch for a more relational, faceto-face approach.