Psychodynamic Explanation of Depression

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  • Psychodynamic Expanation of Depression
    • Evaluation
      • Nietzel and Harris provide evidence that depressed people are high in dependency
        • This is what would be predicted by the psychodynamic explination
      • Psychodynamic approach has emphasized the importance of loss to the onset of depression
        • Enables us to identify those people who, when they suffer loss, may be at higher risk of developing depression
      • Depressed people often express anger towards other people, which is not what one would expect when a theory of depression suggests that anger is turned inwards
    • Background
      • Potential for depression created in childhood, i.e. oral stage
      • Fixated child will grow up to have low self esteem and be overly dependent on people
    • Explanation
      • Loss in early childhood
      • Adult experience of loss
        • Regression to Oral Stage
          • Adult who was fixated at oral stage
            • Cannot separate themselves from the individual
              • Become depressed
          • Adult who passed through oral stage normally
            • Can find comfort in their separation of themselves and the individual
              • Can cope with the loss
    • Treatment: Dream Therapy
      • Dream Work = transforming the forbidden desires into manifest content
        • Analysis
          • Manifest content: what the patient describes as happening in their dream
          • Latent content: the true meaning of the dream, uncovered by analysis
          • Cathartic Relief: experience when the patient is aware what is in their unconscious
          • Being consciously aware of the problem means that the person can deal with the problem with an adult ego
        • A person who is suffering from depression can be made aware of their unconscious that may be the cause of their depression
          • It would focus of the oral stage and is likely to interpret the manifest content in terms of fixation at the oral stage
      • Evaluation
        • Heaton et al. found that clients who had therapists interpreting their dream felt they got more insight than when they interpret them
        • It's subjective, different analysts may have different interpretations of the same dream.
        • Its based on the assumption that dreams have meaning and can reveal something about unconscious processes. Biological scientists believe that dreams are a bi product of random firing in the brain when somebody is asleep and therefore have no meaning
        • Psychoanalysis creates a power difference between the analyst and the patient
          • The patient may transfer feelings of love onto the therapist (erotic transference)
        • A severely depressed person may not have the motivation to undergo long term treatment


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