Psychoanalysis is a form of psychotherapy that involves the exploration of the patient’s conscious and unconscious inner world and subjective experience within the interpersonal context of a healing relationship with the therapist (analyst). Early childhood experiences and relationships to key attachment figures are understood as they influence the development of the patient’s sense of self and identity and patterns of emotional relatedness to significant others in adult life. Exploring the relationship with the analyst in the context of these patterns of relatedness is a key component of change in contemporary psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is different from some other forms of psychotherapy in that the patient has the freedom to continue until he or she would like the treatment to end. Psychoanalysis is used to treat a wide variety of psychological and psychiatric disorders.Psychoanalysis is conducted by licensed mental health professionals who have received a doctorate in psychoanalysis from a psychoanalytic institute.