AS The Psychodynamic Approach Definitions

Relevant definitions for Unit 2, AS Psychology, Edexcel

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  • Created by: Nerual197
  • Created on: 16-04-14 19:23

The ID, Ego and Super Ego

The Id is the brain's pleasure principle. It is the primitive part of the personality that pursues pleasure and instant gratification. This develops first, as we are born with it.

The Ego is the reality principle in the personality. It is aware of reality and is in contact with the outside world. It considers the consequences of actions and deals with the demands of the ID and Super Ego. This develops later than the Id so as to control it.  

The Super Ego is the moral part of the personality. It is our social conscience and experiences the guilt and anxiety when we do something wrong. It develops as a result of a well resolved Oedipus Complex, and as a child interacts with others. 

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The Conscious, Pre-Conscious and Unconscious

The Conscious contains all of the information we have immediate access to and are aware of.

The Pre Conscious holds onto information until it is decided whether it is threatening to conscious thought.

The Unconscious holds all of the information the conscious cannot deal with. The individual is not aware of these thoughts as they are hidden; possibly being destructive. They are often of a sexual or violent nature.

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The Stages of Psychosexual Development

The Oral Stage of development occurs between birth and 18 months. The erogenous zone (place of primary pleasure) is the mouth. Fixations occuring were you not to successfully resolve this stage would be beign either Orally Aggressive (chewing gum/fingernails etc.) or Orally Passive (smoking, eating, immaturity/gullibility etc.). 

The Anal Stage of development occurs between two to three years. Pleasure is drawn through withholding and expelling bowel movements. Possible consequences would be Anal Retentiveness (Obsession with cleanliness/neatness) or Anal Expulsiveness (messiness, recklessness, disorganization).

The Phallic Stage is often seen to be the most important. From the ages of 4-6, this is when the genitals are the erogenous zones, and the Oedipus Complex will occur in males (Electra in females).

The Latency Stage through until the teenage years are relatively safe, with dormant sexual feelings and no fixation.

The Genital Stage is as an adult when sexual feelings mature. Fixations in this stage (11+) are frigidity, impotence, and unsatisfactory relationships.

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Defense Mechanisms

These are strategies used to protect our ego from an imaginary threat. Although they can all distort reality, according to Freud we all use some at some point as they are a way of avoiding unwanted information.

Repression is where an individual will keep anxiety proving thoughts out of their conscious as a way of coping with it.

Projection is when they attribute their own unconscious motives onto another individual or situation.

Denial is not believing in the existence of a threat.

Displacement is redirecting thoughts of feelings from something that causes anxiety to a safer something. 

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