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©1998-2019 Maria Helena Rowell

III. Classic Psychoanalytic Theory

1. Unconscious, Pre-conscious, Conscious
2. Id, Ego, Superego
3. Anxiety
4. The Defense Mechanisms


Fear arises in response to an actual danger. Anxiety, on the other hand, is a feeling of dread or apprehension in response to innocuous situations or may be an emotional reaction out of proportion to the actual degree of the external stress.

The psychosomatic symptoms of anxiety are palpitations, dry mouth, dilatation of the pupils, shortness of breath, sweating, abdominal symptoms, tightness in the throat, trembling and dizziness. The psychological symptoms also include irritability, difficulty with concentration, restlessness and avoidance of the feared object or situation.

Anxiety is the symptomatic expression of the inner emotional conflict caused when a person suppresses from conscious awareness experiences, feelings or impulses that are too disturbing to live with.

Contents pushed out of conscious awareness and held in the unconscious retain much of the psychic energy that was originally attached to them. Release of forbidden impulses or memories seeking for gratification is felt as threatening and provokes anxiety. The same is true in relation to deeply buried traumatic experiences that haunt the ego demanding further elaboration.


Psychoanalysis/ Index Definition History Hysteria Hypnosis 1 2 3 (theory)