Psychodynamic Approach to Abnormality - Key Information!

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  • Created on: 25-05-13 18:55
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Essence of the psychodynamic approach is to explain behaviour in terms of its dynamics.
· Most famous example of this approach = Freud and his psychoanalytic theory of
· F reud fi
rs t
e n g e medical mo d el say in g me ntal di
so rde r
c a use d
psychological f actor s.
· He believed much of our behaviour is motivated by unconscious desires, which
cause the disorders. These sometimes originate from childhood experiences or an
unresolved conflict between the ID and Superego.
· If conflict between ID and Superego not managed effectively by the Ego =
Psychological disorder.
· As ego is immature it is not able to deal with all the experiences at once, so Freud said these
were repressed and that these later re-emerge as psychological problems.
The Basic Principles of the psychodynamic approach:
Mental disorder comes from psychological not physical causes: origins of
mental disorders are in unresolved conflicts from childhood.
Unresolved conflict can cause mental disorder: Conflicts between Id (the
irrational primitive part of our personality. Present at birth and demanding
immediate satisfaction ­ pleasure principle), Ego (conscious and rational part of our
personality, develops in the first year as we interact with the constraints of realty ­
reality principle), and Superego (develops 3-6, embodying our conscience). The ego
protects itself with ego defences (unconscious methods e.g. repressions which help
ego deal with feelings of anxiety and so defend the ego from these). These
defences can cause abnormal behaviour if they are over-used.

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Early experiences
cause mental disorder: During childhood the go is not developed enough to deal
with traumas and so they are repressed by the ego defences e.g. the death of a
parent when young may be repressed and then, later on ­ when they experience
more death ­ these feelings are unveiled and lead to depression.…read more

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Psychological Therapy ­ Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is based on the idea that individuals are unaware of the factors that cause
their behaviour. During psychoanalysis the therapist attempts to trace unconscious factors to
their origin and help the patients deal with them. This is done through:
Free Association ­ patient express thoughts as they occur even if they seem irrelevant.
Freud said these associations are determined by unconscious factors (which the analysis is
trying to uncover).…read more

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