Psychodynamic Appraoch


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  • Created on: 21-11-10 19:28
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The psychodynamic approach says that much of our behaviour is driven by unconscious
Childhood is a critical period in development.
Mental disorders arise from unresolved, unconscious conflicts originating in childhood.
Mental illness occurs as a result psychological problems, not physical.
Components of personality
Freud stated that there are three components to the personality:
The id is present at birth. This is driven by the pleasure principle, where it gets what it wants
and seeks immediate satisfaction.
Ego emerges at end of infant's first year. Driven by the reality principle (not always being
able to get what you want), develops as a consequence of experience with reality.
Later, around five, superego emerges which represents our conscience (sense of right or
When the balance between these personality components aren't achieved, abnormal behaviour
may result. E.g anxiety disorders are associated with an over-developed superego (conscience).
Childhood Experiences
Freud argued that childhood experiences play a crucial part in adult development. Particularly
distressing events in childhood may also become part of the unconscious. Although unconscious,
they may be expressed in later abnormal behaviours.
Psychosexual developmental Stages
Freud argues that children pass through a number of psychosexual stages. Conflicts that occur
during these staged can affect later behaviour
a) Oral Stage (0-2): pleasure gained from sucking and eating. Suck too much- over optimistic,
gullible. Not allowed to suck enough- pessimistic and sarcastic.
b) Anal Stage (2-3): pleasure gained from passing of faeces. Strict potty training- tidy, mean.
Relaxed with potty training ­ generous but disorganised.

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Freud believed that people can become stuck or fixated at any of these stages which will affects
later behaviour. E.g smokers have an oral personality as pleasure is gained from their mouths. Tidy
and excessive may be described as having an anal personality.
Defence Mechanisms
Childhood conflicts cause anxiety, and the ego uses a number of defence mechanisms to keep
these thoughts in the unconscious.
Repression is the major defence mechanism, whereby traumatic events are forced into the
unconscious.…read more

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Based on the idea that individuals are unaware of the many factors that cause their
behaviour, emotions and mental health.
Some of these factors operate at an unconscious level, and are the result of repressed
memories or unresolved conflicts from childhood.
Therapists attempt to trace these unconscious factors to their origins and then help the
individual to deal with them.
Make the unconscious, conscious.…read more

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Treatment takes long time and expensive.…read more


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