Finally, psychoanalysis also represents a method of therapy that Freud and later analysts used to treat the symptoms of mental illness. Practicing for many years, Freud refined his technique, using free association and dream interpretation to help patients gain insight into themselves by recognizing their unconscious patterns and to help them work through the unconscious conflicts that affect everyday life. Many of Freud's patients were women, and it was from these women's recollections in analysis that Freud built his theory of female development. Some of Freud's critics argue that building a theory of normal development from the observation of pathology or abnormality represents an inappropriate conceptual leap.
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