Freud in general, defences mechanisms, psychodynamic approach, case studies (little Hans, Dora, Rat man)

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  • Created by: Hanna
  • Created on: 10-05-08 17:47

Freud in general

  • Austrian
  • Developed theory concerning psychonanalysis/psychodynamics
  • Looked at Vinnese women with anxiety/neurosis as case studies
  • Died 1939
  • Looked at and developed defence mechanisms
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Assumptions of Freud

1) Structure of personality has three parts:
a) Id, baby is born with this
b) Ego, develops from 2 years
c) superego, emerges at age 6 approx.
The superego is made up two parts, the conscience (what you shouldn't be/do), and the ego ideal (what you should be/do).

2)Children go through different stages of intellectual development before they reach adulthood.

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Structure of personality:

The structure of the personality is made up of three parts according to Freud:

The Id - Babies are born with this. It is an instinctive drive, and we are not aware of it. It is in the unconscious mind, if you think of an ice berg it is the part which is underwater, and cannot be seen. 'Pleasure principle'.

The ego - develops at around 2 years, the 'reality principle'.

The superego - emerges age 6. This is the conscious mind, and the conscience.

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Intellectual stages of development in children:

1) Oral stage - 0-2yrs The Id as the pleasure principle seeks gratification, through breast-feeding, and thumbsucking. Fixations include smoking, gum chewing, pen chewing, thumb-sucking, excessive eating (obesity).

2) Anal stage - 2-4yrs Ego and Id involved.
Potty training.
If a child is anally retentive it will get pleasure from holding in faeces,
anally expulsive children 'let it all hang out'.
Has influences on personality later in life, people who are anally retentive tend to bottle things up, while anally expulsive people will be more open about things.

3) Phallic stage - 4-6yrs approx. I.d, Ego and superego towards the end.
Children play with their gentilia - penis and ********.
Children are not inhibited by this. This is the stage at which the oedipus and electra complex start to emerge. Boys will have castration anxiety- they want to sleep with their mother, but they can't because of their father. They become scared as the father has the power to castrate them. So they change their behaviour to act more like their father so that their mother will like them more. They also see that girls do not have a penis, and think they have already been castrated.
Girls have the electra complx, where they want to sleep with their dads, and so become more like their mothers. The only way that they can ever be over this, according to Freud, is by having a baby. They also have penis envy.

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Defence mechanisms

Denial: Failing/refusing to acknowledge/percieve some aspect of reality. e.g Rufusing to accept you have a serious illness

Rationalisation: Finding an acceptable excuse for some really unacceptable behaviour. e.g being cruel to be kind

Reaction-formation: consciously feeling/ thinking the oppostie of your unconscious thoughts/feelings. e.g. being considerate/polite to someone you dislike.

Projection: displacing your own unaccpetable feelings/characteristics onto someone else. e.g. 'i hate you' becomes 'you hate me.'

Regression: Reverting to a behaviour of and earlier development stage.

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Case study: Little Hans:

Little Hans was taken to Freud after he developed a phobia of horses. The five-year-old was taken to Freud by his father after he developed the fear, in which he was afraid that horses would bite him, or fall down in the street and 'make a row'.

Freud interpreted the fear of horses as Hans' fear of his father as part of the oedipal complex that he was going through. The fear of being bitten came from, Freud claimed, the castration anxiety that Hans had.

Little Hans' father acted as the analyst and recorded his behaviour around horses as instructed by Freud. He also interpreted the boy's sexual interests as instructed.

However, this fear may have had other, simple reasons. Hans' parents did not get on and his mother threatened him with castration, as well as the fact that a horse had fallen down next to Hans in the street.

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Case study: Dora:

Dora was an 18 year old woman who went to Freud after a suicide note was discovered by her father. Dora suffered from a number of hysterical or neurotic symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath and a nervous, persistent cough that lead to loss of voice.

According to Dora's father, the symptoms could be linked back to an event which ouccured when she was 16. When she had been on holiday with another family, named the K's in the study, Herr K had made an advance on her, and she had slapped his face and ran away. When questioned, Herr K denied it and Dora's father believed him. At the time Dora's father had been having an affair with Frau K.

Dora told Freud that Herr K had made another recent advance on her, and she had again resisted, this seemed to be the reason for the suicide note.
She also felt that her father didn't believe her, and that he felt guilty about his own affair.

From this, Freud concluded that Dora was in fact in love with Herr K. as the symptoms she had seemed only to occur when he was away on business.

At one point Freud also says that Dora has sexual feelings towards Frau K, and even Freud himself.

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Case study: Rat man:

The rat man (Ernst Lanzer) came to see Freud at the age of 29.

He had a number of obsessive behaviours, and had obsessive and fearful thoughts about rats. Ths seemed to have been brought about after he had overheard a particularly nasty description of a torture used involving rats whilst on military training.To ward off the images that this evoked, he engaged in obsessive compulsive behaviours.

He feared that these tortures would be used on his father, girlfriend and others he was close to.

Freud interpreted these thoughts as a mixture of love and hate for his father. He said that unconsciously Ernst hated his father, and wanted to torture him with rats, but obviously any thoughts like that made him feel guilty. The obsessive behaviours he was experiencing helped to lessen these feelings.

Freud omitted Ernst's mother completely from the study. With the rat man, his mother was a dominating figure, and still had control of his money at the age of 29. Freud also failed to mention the fact that Ernst's sister had died when he was 4, and these two factors may have lead to the development of a phobia.

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Intellectual stages of development cont.

3) Latency stage - 6-11yrs. Hidden from opposite sex. Masturbation.

4) Genital stage - puberty onwards. Penetrative sex with another person of the opposite sex. 'immature form of sexuality'.

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