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EFPP Review

Mirko Čorlukić

Master of Social Work, Psychotherapist.
Education: Masters Degree of Social Work, University of Zagreb, Masters Degree of Child and Adolescent Psychology, Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.
Work experience: University Hospital Center Zagreb, Department of Psychiatry, Clinical social work. Special Hospital for Children With Neurodevelopmental and Motor Disorders.
Member of the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society (NPSA), author of several books and papers in the field of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.


Mara Tripković

MD, Psychiatrist, Specialist for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Education: School of Medicine, University of Zagreb.
Work experience: University Hospital Center Zagreb, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Author of several papers.


Mirko Čorlukić & Mara Tripković

Is the Psychoanalytic Paradigm of Mind Still Valid?

If we consider the advent of psychoanalysis in 1900 when Sigmund Freud’s book “The Interpretation of Dreams” was published, what can we say nowadays about Psychoanalysis, a discipline that has one foot in Psychology, and the other in Psychiatry? Is this para- digm still valid?




In psychoanalysis the paradigm of the mind has gone through a long development path; from Freud’s classic model, the Kleinian model, ego psychology, (British and American) object relations theories, Kohut’s  Self psychology to relational and intersubjective models. There have been many attempts to integrate psychoanalytic theories that basically include a variety of different mind theories and psychopathology. But what’s missing is a “firmer” basic scientific discipline, one that integrating existing knowledge to create a better theory of how the mind-brain functions normally and in psychological disorders. Authors believe that this basic scientific discipline is neurobiology or neuroscience, the most important subfields of neuroscience are affective neuroscience, neuroscience of the Self and consciousness. In psychotherapy patients’ mental disorders are not created only in early infancy, but rather the following four factors need to be considered: 1) the biological/genetic factors 2) stressogenic/childhood experiences of deprivation, 3) stressogenic/experiences of deprivation during adolescence and adulthood, and 4) lifestyle, socio- economic, and cultural factors. Psychosocial methods of communication in psychoanalysis, when successful, can change the workings of neurobiological systems.  Instead of ego, super-ego and the id, or self-targeted object relations, a new (neuro) psychoanalytic model is based on the three systems: 1) the primary affective system (primarily the brainstem, parts of the diencephalon and limbic system), 2) the secondary behavioral conditioning system (basal ganglia, amygdala nucleus) and 3) the  tertiary cognitive-linguistic system (primary cortico- thalamic systems). Psychotherapy takes place through the psychodynamics of these three levels of the three brain systems (affective pulsation and cognitive configuration), and the application of psychoanalytic tools (setting, free association, clarification, interpretation, support, etc.) used to communicate with the patient during the session.

Psychoanalysis is a specific psychosocial, verbal and nonverbal, conscious and unconscious communication interplay between the therapist and the patient. The therapeutic goal is to achieve a lasting emotional balance – better alignment of the primary affective system with the tertiary cognitive-linguistic system affecting the psychological and social life of a patient.

EFPP Research Award 2021


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