Free association : method and process

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Learn More about free association. Share free association Post the Definition of free association to Facebook Share the Definition of free association on Twitter. Resources for free association Time Traveler! Explore the year a word first appeared. Dictionary Entries near free association free and common socage free and easy free as a bird free association free astray free ball free balloon.

Time Traveler for free association The first known use of free association was in See more words from the same year. More from Merriam-Webster on free association Britannica.


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Comments on free association What made you want to look up free association? Get Word of the Day daily email! Test Your Vocabulary. Love words? If so, it's usually used only briefly and as a prelude to an active discussion. Also, in other types of therapy, the thoughts may not all be considered significant. They may be viewed as simple mistakes or unimportant details. Some other therapy techniques use the same type of stream of consciousness method.

What Exactly is Free Association?

Free association writing involves writing down thoughts as they come to you. You may do this in a therapy session or as a homework assignment between sessions. The therapist reads what you've written.

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Then, they'll offer you their thoughts, ask you questions about what certain words mean to you, and explain how your thoughts reveal certain things about you. Some therapists may use a different free association technique by giving you more instructions. They might tell you to think of a certain situation and share the thoughts that arise from that suggestion.

Or, they might instruct you to join them in a simple word association technique. In this, the therapist says a word, and you say the first word or words you think of. Word association is a separate technique from a traditional free association, but it can be used to find out similarly hidden truths. Free association is central to the process of psychoanalysis and certainly important in psychodynamic therapy as well as other treatment methods. Therapists do still use free association, although the technique has changed to some extent.

Free Association

In modern therapy, the patient usually takes a more active role in the process of unraveling the meaning of the apparently unrelated words, phrases, and descriptions. The therapist might also give more instructions and engage with you more than early psychologists like Freud did with their patients. Because psychotherapy is more readily available, more people are familiar with it. People tend to be more open to different therapeutic techniques. Free association has also been depicted in everything from books to movies to animated TV series.

So, once you begin to engage in the method, it may seem more familiar to you than it was to people in the late s. This familiarity may make you feel more comfortable with it, and you may relax more as you're doing it. In Freud's day, free association was only used in psychoanalysis and rarely in any other situation. Now, it's not only used in psychoanalysis therapy, but it's also used in other forms of therapy.

Saying what comes to mind is also familiar to anyone who's been involved in a brainstorming session to create something new or work out problems in a business. Whether your therapist is a psychoanalyst or an eclectic therapist, free association therapy can provide you with many benefits. In free association, you don't discard thoughts even if you think they're irrelevant. Because your therapist hears every thought, they can understand things neither of you might have realized before. While you might not see the significance of something that comes to your mind, the therapist has a broader perspective, having spoken to many other people with similar mental health issues.

Sometimes, we file away painful thoughts so deeply in our unconscious that even we don't realize they're there. If those thoughts are important to us, sometimes all it takes is a free association session to reveal them. When this happens, the knowledge of what you've been hiding from yourself can bring you a sense of relief and closure. And, once you know about that thought, you can deal with it consciously and reasonably decide what to do. People tend to repress feelings that are too painful or confusing to deal with at the moment. You may feel numb about something that you think should be upsetting you deeply.

For example, if a mother who has lost a child feels nothing about that loss, it can be vital to their mental health to confront those feelings of grief. During free association, you can tap into your deeper feelings about such issues, experience them in safety, and eventually move forward. It's one thing to know you have a problem. It's often more difficult to know what's behind your outer symptoms. Free association psychology sessions can help you find where the problem began.

Free association is central to the process of getting to the root of serious mental health issues, so you can work with your psychologist to create a plan for overcoming them. Free association as one technique of many can help someone with a mental health issue. However, as a sole method of therapy, it has some limitations.

It isn't right for everyone, so it's important to assess its value to you in your situation.

What Exactly is Free Association? — Exploring your mind

The issue you're dealing with is an important consideration. If your issue is that you're trying to change behavior quickly, cognitive behavioral therapy might be more appropriate for you. A technique where the contents of your unconscious are translated into images or narrative.

Jung linked active imagination with the processes of alchemy in that both strive for oneness and inter-relatedness from a set of fragmented and dissociated parts. Key to the process of active imagination is the goal of exerting as little influence as possible on mental images as they unfold.

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Observe the scene, watch for changes, and report them, rather than to consciously fill the scene with one's desired changes. One would then respond genuinely to these changes, and report any further changes in the scene.

Free association

This approach is meant to ensure that the unconscious contents express themselves without overbearing influence from the conscious mind. At the same time: "You yourself must enter into the process with your personal reactions Active imagination is a method for visualizing unconscious issues by letting them act themselves out.

Active imagination can be done by visualization.