The Psychodynamic Approach

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  • Psychodynamic Approach
    • Structure of personality-Freudian's theory
      • The Id- entirely unconscious, pleasure principle. Made up of selfish, aggressive instincts that demand immediate gratification
      • The Ego- Reality principle. Compromises between the Id and the Superego. Develops around 2 years of age in order to reduce conflict between demands of the Id and Superego. Ego manages this by employing various defence mechanisms.
        • Defence Mechanisms
          • Unconscious processes that ensure that the Ego is able to prevent us from being overwhelmed from traumatic or distressing situations.
            • Repression- forcing a distressing memory out of the conscious mind.
            • Denial- Refusing to acknowledge some aspect of reality. e.g. Drug abusers deny that they an addiction.
            • Displacement- Transferring feelings from true source of distressing emotion onto a substitute target.
      • The Superego- Moralistic part of our personality which represents the ideal self. Formed at the end of the Phallic stage, around the age of 5.
    • Defence Mechanisms
      • Unconscious processes that ensure that the Ego is able to prevent us from being overwhelmed from traumatic or distressing situations.
        • Repression- forcing a distressing memory out of the conscious mind.
        • Denial- Refusing to acknowledge some aspect of reality. e.g. Drug abusers deny that they an addiction.
        • Displacement- Transferring feelings from true source of distressing emotion onto a substitute target.
    • Psychosexual Stages
      • Freud claimed that child development came in 5 stages- Any psychosexual conflict that is unresolved leads to fixation, where a child carried certain behaviours associated with that stage into adulthood.
        • Oral 1-2 years: focus of pleasure is the mouth, mother's breast is the object of desire. Consequence of unresolved conflict-.Oral Fixation- Smoking, biting nails.
        • Anal 1-3 years: Focus of pleasure is the anus, child gains pleasure from withholding and expelling faeces. Consequences: Anal retentive- perfectionist, obsessive Anal expulsive-. thoughtless, messy.
        • Phallic 3-5 years: Focus of pleasure is the genitals. Child experiences the Oedipus or Electra complex. Consequences: Phallic personality- narcissistic, reckless, possible homosexual.
          • Oedipus- Boys feel hatred towards father due to desire for their mother, but will identify with father due to fear of castration meaning they cannot pursue incestuous feelings.
          • Electra- Girls will desire their father but this feeling will be replaced with a want for a baby, hence identification with their mother.
        • Latency- Earlier conflicts are repressed.
        • Genital- during puberty, sexual activity is desired. Consequences: difficulty forming heterosexual relationships
    • Strengths
      • Explanatory power- e.g. children's behaviour following PTSD.
      • Influential to treatment.
    • Limitations
      • subjective- e.g. Little Hans study is based on interpretation
      • Concepts are not falsifiable/testable .

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