Psychoanalytic theory originated in the late 19th century with the efforts of Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) to develop a general psychology, but it has evolved significantly over the last century. This entry discusses core propositions common to a psychoanalytic point of view and reviews the progression of psychoanalytic theory from Sigmund Freud to contemporary theorists.

Presently, there is not one singular theory of psychoanalysis or a single psychodynamic theory of mental functioning. There are, however, four core propositions that define any psychoanalytic point of view. They are (a) the dynamic unconscious, that is that mental forces outside of consciousness impact behavior and consciously available feelings and thoughts; (b) psychic determinism, that is mental processes are determined by the unconscious processes and nothing happens by ...

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