Masterclass ‘Psychoanalytical theories and their relevance for professionals’


Psychoanalysis is one of the psychological theories that looks at people’s behaviour, emotions and motives. Other examples of theoretical reference frameworks are cognitive behavioural theories, system theories, social theories, neurological theories.

Freud was the founder of psychoanalytical theory, and his ideas are still influential today and for the most part have filtered through into general psychology and psychological treatments. Psychoanalysis is not exactly a theory, but rather six main theories. Psychoanalytical theories actually focus on various human needs. The common question is, how do human personalities develop in relation to others.

The basic principles of psychoanalysis include, among others:

  • A lot of our experiences are subconscious
  • This means ‘dynamically subconscious’: we have a lot of (defence) mechanisms to ‘deceive’ ourselves so that we do not have to know what we do not want to know
  • People repeat relational patterns (transference) that were formed because of previous experiences
  • A strong development perspective: the personality is formed through interactions between biological constructions and relational experiences
  • In treatments, the relationship is key

Psychoanalytical theory can be interesting for professionals that work with people. It offers an insight into the development of personalities and concepts which helps us to understand human motives and actions.

The masterclass gives an insight into the six main theories of psychoanalysis: Drift-conflict theory, ego psychology, object relational theory, attachment theory, mentalization theory. Furthermore, the way in which these theories can be relevant for the professional coach or (HR) manager is discussed.