Psychodynamic approach to abnormality

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  • Created on: 11-01-13 07:27
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Psychodynamic approach:
Freud believed the origins of mental disorders lie in the
unresolved conflicts of childhood, which are unconscious.
1. Unresolved conflicts cause mental disorder
2. Early experiences can cause mental disorder
3. Unconscious motivations cause mental disorder
Unresolved conflicts cause mental disorder:
Conflicts between the id, ego and superego can cause anxiety.
This is part of the unconscious mind; we are born with this fully
developed. This is the part of the personality, which demands
immediate satisfaction; it is driven by the pleasure principle. This
part of the personality ensures it gets what it wants, until the end
of the infants first year when the ego develops.
This develops due to experiences with reality meaning it cant
always get what it wants, this is driven my the reality principle
which makes the child accommodate to other people and its
environment rather than just itself. Use defence mechanisms to
protect itself during conflict, as each part of the personality
represents different principles.
Defence mechanisms:
Denial ­ completely reject the thought or feeling
Suppression ­ vaguely aware of thought or feeling but try to
hide it
Reaction formation ­ turn the feeling into the opposite so
make it positive
Projection ­ believe someone else has your feelings so your
anxious for them not yourself
Displacement ­ you redirect feelings to another target, feel
anxious about something else
Rationalization ­ deny true feelings
Regression ­ revert to old behaviour (usually immature) e.g.
ignore advice
Sublimation ­ redirect the feeling of anxiety into a socially
productive activity, supporting the cause of the anxiety
(Can create mental disorders if over used)
Develops between the ages of 3 and 6, this embodies our conscience
and the sense of right and wrong behaviours, represents the ideal
Example of a conflict:
Id- go to party don't do homework
Superego- do homework don't go to party

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Ego- do homework then go to party
Early experiences cause mental disorder:
In childhood the ego is not developed enough to deal with traumas
and therefore they are repressed. If a child experiences a death
at a young age they repress their feelings into the unconscious, if
the child then experiences another death later in life it may cause
the individual to re-experience the other death, this can cause
depression.…read more

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Hans became afraid of
horses, this is the psychodynamic approach's explanation of how
phobias form.
Research methods:
Case studies ­ detailed study of an individual such as little
Hans, offers an in-depth data insight into behaviour but is
difficult to generalize as characteristics may be unique for
each person
Experiments ­ can be used to test the theory, Freud didn't use
any but other psychologists have used them to test Freud's
theory.…read more

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He stopped using this
technique as he was finding it hard to hypnotise people and he
realize people are very suggestive in this state so false memories
and feeling could be created.
Dream analysis:
Freud believed a certain part of the mind held a person's
repressed thoughts and this was less active during sleep, meaning
he thought repressed memories are likely to occur while sleeping so
could occur in dreams.…read more


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