Freud - Psychodynamic Approach



According to Freud, our early childhood influences our personality. He said the personality consists of three parts: the ego, the ID and the superego.


The ID develops first and is inborn. It lasts for two years and operates the Pleasure Principle. A baby seeks food and warmth.


The ego ensures the desires of the ID are expressed in a suitable way. It is based in reality principle (weighs up costs and benefits).


The superego begins development at age three and fully develops around puberty and is essentially the contious. 

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'Active mind' - Freud coined the term psychoanalysis to describe his  theories and techniques for finding and curing the mental problems o his patients.

The conscious - Awareness when we are awake

Pre-conscious - Memories of dreams, gives clues about the unconscious mind.

The unconscious - Containing secret wishes and fears, trauma memories and these thoughts are unavailable to us while awake.

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Psychoanalytic theories see anti-social behaviour as caused by an abnormal relationship with parents during early socialisation.

- A weakly developed superego

+ Individual feels less guilt

- Unforgiving superego

+ Feels deep guilt which manifests in offending

- Deviant superego

+ Socialised into a deviant moral code

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- Demonstrates the importance of early socialisation and family relationships

- Psychoanalytical explanations have had some influence on policies for dealing with crime and deviance


- Critics doubt the existence of an 'unconcsious mind'. How can we know about it if we can't see it?

- Freud is seen to be unscientific and subjective

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