the Psychodynamic approach

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  • The psychodynamic approach
    • adult behaviour results from complex interactions between the sub conscious and the conscious
      • developed from birth onwards
    • Freud was interested in the interaction between the conscious and the unconscious
    • personality is made up of three interacting elements
      • the id
        • this is the reservoir of out unconscious and instinctual energy
          • most important psychic energy is the libido
            • sexual energy
        • operates on seeking pleasure though sex and other forms of pleasure
        • can also lead to aggression and violence
        • present from birth
      • the ego
        • represents our conscious self
        • develops during early childhood
        • tried to balance the demands of the if with the morals of the super ego, this is called the reality principle and is how it operates
      • the super ego
        • is our personal moral authority or conscience
        • it develops later in childhood when the child internalises one parents morals
      • id the eg fails to balance the id and the super ego psychological disorders may occur
        • Dominance of the id may lead to destructive tenancies, uninhibited sexual behaviour
        • if dominance of the super ego occurs then the person may be unable to experience any form of pleasure
    • to deal with intra-psychic conflict (id, ego, super ego) and to avoid anxiety there are ego defence mechanisms
      • repression
        • they don't disappear but the individual is unaware of them
      • displacement
        • this occurs when an unacceptable drive eg hatred is displaced from its primary target to a more acceptable target
      • denial
        • a person refuses to accept that a particular event has happened
          • the surviving member of a long and happy marriage may continue to act as if their spouse is alive
    • Evaluation
      • Freud was the first person the empathise the significance of the unconscious and how hidden material can influence our behaviour
        • many studied support this such as childhood sexual abuse on psychopathology
        • repression of traumatic experiences may reveal itself in adult behaviour
      • first to suggest that childhood experiences could effect adulthood bahviour
        • eg Ainsworth on early attachment styles
        • highlights the importance of childhood
      • didnt study children just developed his theory on case studies of middle aged women from Vienna with neurotic disorders
        • gender specific
        • culturally specific
      • the id, ego and super ego are impossible to test using scientific methodology


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