Psychodynamic Approach

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  • Psychodynamic Approach
    • Role of the unconscious
      • Freud suggested our conscious mind is the 'ti p of the iceberg'.
      • Most of our mind is made up of the unconscious
        • A storage of biological drives and instincts that have a significant influence on behavior and personality
        • Also contains threatening and disturbing memories that have been repressed or locked away and forgotten
          • Can be accessed during dreams or 'slip of the tongue'.
      • Under the unconscious is the preconscious which contains thoughts and memories which aren't in conscious awarenesses but can be accessed.
    • Structure of the personality
      • id
        • Primative part of the personality
        • Operates on the pleasure principle - id gets what it wants
        • Mass of unconscious drives and instincts
        • Only present at birth
        • Entirely selfish and demands instant gratification of its needs
      • ego
        • Reality principle - mediator between the two parts of the personality
        • Develops around the age of two years and its role is to reduce the conflict between the desmans of the id and the superego.
        • Employs defence mechanisms to manage the id and superego
      • superego
        • Formed at the end of the phallic stage - around the age of five
        • Our internalized sense of right and wrong
        • Based on morality principle - represents the moral standards of the child's same-sex parent and punishes the ego for wrongdoing (guilt)
    • Psychosexual stages
      • Phallic (3-5 years)
        • Focus of pleasure if the genital area - child experiences Oedipus or Electra complex
          • Phallic personality - Narcassitic maybe homosexual
      • Anal (1-3 years)
        • Focus of pleasure is the anus. Child gains pleasure from withholding and expelling faces
          • Anal retentive - perfectionist + obsessive
          • Anal expulsive - thoughtless + messy
      • Latency
        • Earlier conflicts are repressed
      • Oral (0-1 years)
        • Focus of pleasure is the mouth - mothers breast is desirable object
          • Oral fixation - smoking, sarcastic
      • Genital
        • Sexual desires become conscious alongside onset of puberty
          • Difficulty forming heterosexual relationships
    • Evaluation
      • Explanatory power
        • Controversial and bizzare but it has a huge influence on psychology and Western thought
          • Psychodynamic remained the dominant force in psychology for the first half of the 20th century
            • Significant in drawing attention to the connection between experiences in childhood and development in childhood
      • Case study
        • Freud's theory was based on intensive study of individuals
          • Little Hans - Freud's observation was detailed and carefully recorded.
            • Critics suggest its not possible to make universal claims about human nature based on studies of a small amount of individuals
              • Highly subjective and it is unlikely in the case of Little Hans
      • Concepts
        • Carl Popper argued that the psychodynamic approach does not meet the scientific criteria
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