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Q1) Outline two assumptions of the Psychodynamic approach. (4 marks).
One assumption of the psychodynamic approach is that behaviour is influenced by 3 parts of
the mind. The id is the primitive part of the mind and works on a pleasure principle. We are
born with this. The ego is our reality principle; it controls our sense of reality. For example `if
I kill my sister, I will go to prison'. The superego is our moral principle. It strives for
perfection and to do the right thing. However the id and super ego are in conflict, so our
ego creates defence mechanisms such as denial, refusing to see the obvious truth, to
protect us from the conflict.
Another assumption of the psychodynamic approach is that behaviour is influenced by early
childhood experiences. This is often referred to as the psychosexual stages. There are five
psychosexual stages; oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital. Fraud suggested that if a child did
not travel smoothly through these stages and become fixated, certain personality traits
could be the results. Fixation occurs when the child becomes frustrated or is over indulge at
a certain stage. For example traits such as cynicism and sarcasm can result from a child
becoming frustrated at the oral stage, this is called oral aggression.
Q1b) Describe Freud's theory of personality development. (8 marks).
Freud believed personality developed from early childhood experiences. He categorised the
effects in the psychosexual stages. These were separated into five groups; oral, anal, phallic,
latent and genital. Fraud suggested that if a child did not travel smoothly through these
stages and become fixated, certain personality traits could be the results. Fixation occurs
when the child becomes frustrated or is over indulge at a certain stage. For example in the
oral stage pleasure is gained from eating and sucking, this stage occurs during 0 to
18months, Freud believed that personality traits such as cheerfulness, optimism,
self-centredness and relaxation may occur if you became frustrated at this stage. He also
believed during the phallic stage (3-6 years old) we become interested in the opposite sex
parent. Girls experienced the Electra complex, this includes penis envy and also the girl falls in
love with the father, but because the father's love interest is the mother the girl becomes
jealous. However out of fear of losing her mother's love plus the symbolic gains of imitating
a person the father is attached to, the girl identifies with her mother and by becoming like
her she too can indirectly satisfy her sexual desires. The Oedipus complex also happens
during this age to boys. This involves sexual attraction towards the mother and wishing his
rival for the mother's affection, his father, out of the way. However the boy fears that his
desires will be discovered and his father will punish him by depriving the boy of his phallus.
Out of fear of castration, the boy identifies with the father figure, taking on his values,
attitudes and behaviour, so that in becoming like his father the boy can indirectly have the
mother through his fantasies and later grow up to have mother-like figures in the same way
as his father. In the anal stage (18 months to 3 years) pleasure is gain from expelling or with
holding faeces. A possible personality trait may be generosity. He claimed that nothing much
happens during the latent stage (6 years to puberty). The genital stage (puberty and
onwards), Freud believed that possible characteristics maybe independence.
Q2) Describe how the Psychodynamic approach has been applied Dream analysis.
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An assumption of the psychodynamic approach is that there are three part of the mind; the
conscious, pre-conscious and unconscious. Within the conscious part of our mind are accepted
thoughts and feelings. He said the mind is like an iceberg-much of what goes on inside the mind lies
under the surface and that painful experiences may be repressed into the unconscious mind which
can result in abnormal behaviour.…read more
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Q3b) Evaluate two weaknesses of the Psychodynamic approach. (6 marks).
A weakness of the psychodynamic approach is that it is deterministic which means that
behaviour is controlled or influences by factors beyond our control. In the case of this
approach, if someone is over-stimulated at a particular stage in their development, then
they will become fixated at that stage and this will affect their personality in later life.…read more
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therefore decreases the chances of lying even happening.
Another method used in the psychodynamic approach are clinical interviews. These involve
obtaining information to access the mental health status of a psychiatric patient. The
interviewer observes, questions, and interacts with the patient. This interview contains both
open and closed questions.
A strength of using this method is the use of open and closed questions which allow the
access of follow up questions.…read more