Psychoanalysis—be it Freudian, Jungian or Lacanian—is concerned with how reality is experienced by the subject as affected by his/her unconscious wishes, desires, sometimes even by archetypal myths, or social structure, and so forth.

In this sense, can we say that psychoanalysis a type of phenomenology? or perhaps that it is analogous to phenomenology?


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    No. Psychoanalysis takes a third person and empirical perspective of the inner workings of a psyche, phenomenology is interested in the first person perspective cleaned up of psychological idiosyncrasy.
    – Conifold
    Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 7:19
  • The father knows the son just as the son knows the father. Halellujah! I need to study. 😐
    – Hudjefa
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 7:44
  • idk of any extended, rather than just serious, attempts to combine the two. there is a long standing link between phenomenological research and psychiatry, but these are more like the sons of both
    – user65174
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 22:38

2 Answers 2



Psychoanalysis grew out of early phenomenology. However, later on (as early as 1910) these 2 schools of thought went their own ways.

Franz Brentano was the founder of phenomenology. Many philosophers and historians mistakenly think that Brentano, Freud and Hitler were Germans, when in reality all 3 were Austrians. Brentano was a charismatic teacher and his lectures attracted many talented young men, including Meinong, Husserls, and Freud. Freud attended Brentano's lectures for 2 years and they had a major, life-changing impact on his way of thinking. Freud was not interested in the same philosophical questions as Brentano, but he whole heartedly agreed with 2 basic principles: intentionality and the importance of science.

Freud, like Brentano, always believed that empirical science is the only way to go if we want to understand the human mind. Beliefs, drives, impulses, neurosis, and other psychological phenomena should be investigated with the methods / principles of science. That is one of the reasons why Freud and Jung had a falling out later on. Freud did not want to admit 'mysticism' into the science of psychoanalysis, just as Brentano thought that all of German idealism is mystic philosophy.

Secondly, and most importantly, is that for Freud, all mental phenomena are intentional. For example, let's take libido. Libido is not just sexual energy, it is energy that is always directed at specific individuals of the opposite sex (let's not get into homosexuality). Sexual desire is not just a vague urge, it is an intentional act (in the sense of Brentano and Husserl) that has an intentional object. Also, dreaming is a mental phenomenon that has wish fulfillment as it's intentional object. We always dream about something, and that something is a wish being fulfilled, according to Freud.

Of course, Jung and Lacan were influenced by Freud, by I don't want to get into that.


No. They have a common thread (both rely on introspection), but each differs significantly so there is no hyponym or "IS-A-TYPE-OF" relationship.

Psychoanalysis is a form of introspection that purports to cure the mind of mental illness. In its original form, it is considered to be pseudo-scientific by many current thinkers, and doesn't have the same aims as phenomenology:

[Freud] identified the cornerstones of psychoanalysis as – "the assumption that there are unconscious mental processes, the recognition of the theory of repression and resistance, the appreciation of the importance of sexuality and of the Oedipus complex."

Phenomenology as posited by Husserl is a form of introspection that purports to be a scientific study of experience and consciousness often by challenging language and perception. It has no psychological therapeutic value on its face and purports to establish the objectivity of subjective experience:

[P]henomenology attempts to create conditions for the objective study of topics usually regarded as subjective: consciousness and the content of conscious experiences such as judgements, perceptions, and emotions. Although phenomenology seeks to be scientific, it does not attempt to study consciousness from the perspective of clinical psychology or neurology. Instead, it seeks through systematic reflection to determine the essential properties and structures of experience.

Thus, they are both dependent on introspection, but neither is derivative of the other if one considers the necessary and sufficient conditions of their respective characterizations. Phenomenology is a first-person science of the mind that relies on collective introspection, and psychoanalysis is a pseudo-scientific way to cure mental illness through the interpretation of introspection. (In fact, the notion of mental illness has philosophically contentious aspects as raised by Laing, Szasz, and others who advocate antipsychiatric views or views supportive of the recognition of neurodiversity.)

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