GCSE Psychology Topic B

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Key terminology 1, Freud: Is dreaming meaningful?

manifest content - what the dream is said to be about by the dreamer – the story the dreamer tells.

latent content - the meaning underlying the dream.  If the symbols from the manifest content are translated by an analyst, they can reveal unconscious thoughts.

condensation - when many thoughts and elements from the unconscious are represented in the dream in one symbol

displacement - when something that seems to be unimportant in the dream is made central, to shift attention from what is really important.

secondary elaboration - how the dreamer builds a story when telling what the dream is about, adding to and changing things, which makes the analysis hard.

Psychoanalysis – Freud’s therapy, designed to help release unconscious thoughts.

objective – where the researcher’s views do not affect the information that is gathered

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Key terminology 2, Freud: Is dreaming meaningful?

slip of the tongue when someone uses the wrong word for something.  Freud analyses these slips to help uncover unconscious thoughts.

dream analysis – a method used by Freud to help uncover unconscious thoughts, by analysing dreams and uncovering symbols.

qualitative data – data involving stories or attitudes.

valid – refers to findings of studies and means that they are about real-life situations, real-life behaviour or feelings that are real.

subjective – where the researcher is somehow affecting the information that is gathered, perhaps by their interpretation.

Free association a method used by Freud in psychoanalysis where the patient is encouraged to express a flow of consciousness.  The process helps to uncover links which can then be interpreted.


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Revision notes:Freud,

 Freud is the name you need to remember when talking about dreams having meaning.

Over 100 years ago Freud thought that dreams were a very important part of a person’s life because through dreams unconscious wishes and desires could be understood.

  The unconscious is the large part of the mind that is hidden completely (like the majority of an iceberg is under the water) – some of what is in the unconscious is repressed (pushed back) because it is too hard to deal with.

The conscious mind is what we are aware of, can remember, discuss and deal with.  These unconscious thoughts guide our behaviour.

  Freud thought that the mentally ill needed help because nothing was being done for them.  He realised the mind was powerful and could cause mental health problems.

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Revision notes:Freud 2

  Freud is very well known because he focused on how important sexual issues were, he often talked about repressed unconscious thoughts being repressed sexual wishes and desires.

Freud said dreams have a manifest (the story the dreamer tells) and latent (the underlying meaning of the dream) content and used the term dreamwork to describe what the mind is doing whilst dreaming to keep unconscious thoughts hidden and repressed.  This protects the individual from undesirable thoughts

Dreamwork includes condensation, displacement and secondary elaboration.  An analyst can help to interpret a dream by unpicking the dream and considering how one idea might represent condensation of themes.  They might look to see how displacement has changed the focus of the dream on to an unimportant theme, or they might unravel secondary elaboration to get the original experience of dreaming.

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Revision notes:Freud 3

Freud said that symbols in dreams meant different things to different individuals as everyone’s unconscious is a personal thing.  

Falling is often seen as the manifest content of a dream and is interpreted as ‘losing control’.  Snakes can be a sign of trouble or a phallic symbol.

Dreams can be analysed through a process called psychoanalysis.  The analyst listens to a description of the dream (manifest content) then the latent content can be uncovered by analysing the symbols in the manifest content.  Unconscious desires ‘leak’ into the dream via symbols to protect the sleeper.  Freud believed that mental health comes from uncovering unconscious desires and dream analysis can be part of the therapy.

Up until the late 1800s very little was known about mental health issues and people with mental illnesses were put in asylums mainly because no one knew what to do with them!  Psychoanalysis aims to reveal unconscious wishes, desires and emotions to the patient, once they know the content of their unconsciousness, will no longer have psychological problems.  As their desires are no longer hidden, they can be dealt with.

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Revision notes:Freud 4

Psychoanalysis uses three main methods –

slips of the tongue,

free association and  

dream analysis to help gain a lot of information to work with and to use as evidence for conclusions about unconscious wishes.

Psychoanalysis takes a long time because many dreams have to be related and many sessions undergone before the analyst can start to suggest what the dream might symbolise.

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Strengths of Freud’s theory

·                              Strengths of Freud’s theory

1.  He used unique methods to find data (free association, slips of the tongue, dream analysis) that was difficult to access.

2.  He gathered in-depth and detailed information about individuals (qualitative data about real life (valid data). He listened carefully to his patients.

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Weaknesses of Freud’s theory

                              Weaknesses of Freud’s theory

1 His sample was biased (mostly middle-class Viennese women) so his results are not generalisable.

2 His concepts were unmeasurable (if you cut open a skull, can you see the unconscious?) and can’t be called ‘science’.

3. He interpreted his findings, (he was subjective) so they might be biased. Science needs to be objective.

4. There is an alternative biological theory - activation-synthesis.




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Key terminology :How the brain send signals

neuron - a cell in the body, including the brain, which sends information using both electrical and chemical processes.

axon - the ‘cable’ that leads from a cell body of a neuron down to the terminal buttons that hold the neurotransmitter.

impulse - the electrical signal that travels from the cell body of a neuron to the terminal buttons, where it releases a neurotransmitter.

neurotransmitter- a chemical at the terminal button of a neuron, which is released by the impulse and then goes into the synaptic gap.

synaptic gap - the gap between the dendrites of one neutron and the next.

synaptic transmission - what happens when a neurotransmitter released by an impulse of one neuron goes across the synaptic gap and is taken up at the dendrites of another neuron.

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Revision notes:How the brian sends signals.

Neurons respond to stimuli from the environment or inside the body andcommunicate within the nervous system.

Messages in the brain are sent using electrical impulses and chemicals called neurotransmitters.

1.An electrical impulse is triggered from the cell of one neuron which travels down the axon to the end.

2. At the end it releases a neurotransmitter that is found in the terminal buttons at the end of the axon.

3. The neurotransmitter has to cross the synaptic gap to get to the dendrites of the next neuron to continue the message.

4. The neurotransmitter, released by the impulse, goes into the synaptic gap – where it could be taken up by the dendrites or could be lost.

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Revision notes:How the brian sends signals cont.

5. If the receptors at the end of the dendrites of the next neuron are ‘suitable’ to receive the neurotransmitter that is in that gap, then the chemical gets picked up.

6. The neurotransmitter sets off an electrical signal (by changing the chemical balance at the receptor) and then it drops back into the synaptic gap where it can be taken back up to be used again.

7. The change in the chemical balance (from the receptors) triggers an electrical impulse from the cell body, which then travels down to the end of the axon…the process starts again.

The process of a neurotransmitter passing from one neuron across the synaptic gap and being picked up by the next neuron is called synaptic transmission.

Receptors at a dendrite will be a shape (‘lock’) to take up only a certain neurotransmitter (‘key’) and all other neurotransmitters will not be taken up.

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Key terminology:activation-synthesis model.

activation-synthesis model – a model of dreaming proposed by Hobson and Mc Carley where the brain is active but no sensory information is coming into it.  The brain puts the information it has together to make sense of it and this is the dream.

random activation – during REM sleep, when neurons are active randomly but not deliberately.

sensory blockade – during REM sleep, when no information enters through the senses.

movement inhibition – the state, during REM sleep, when the body is paralysed and there is no movement.

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Revision notes:activation-synthesis model.

Biologists suggest that dreams are random thoughts which have been put together by the sleeping brain to make some sense of them.

Hobson and McCarley came up with a biological theory of dreaming in 1977.  It says that dreams are random messages sent to the brain which are interpreted to make a story.  Messages are randomly activated, and then synthesised into a story.

Biologists are scientists and use research methods such as experiments and scanning.

Hobson and McCarley said there is a dream state generator in the brain and this part of the brain gives a dream state during REM sleep.

REM sleep happens around 4 or 5 times a night and is easily recognisable; scientists can measure electrical activity in the brain during REM sleep using an EEG (electroencephalograph).


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Revision notes:activation-synthesis model cont.

During REM sleep, any incoming information from the senses is blocked – sensory blockade.  Physical movements are also blocked – movement inhibition.

During REM sleep the neurons in the brain are activated because there are random impulses that ‘give’ information as if it were the senses.  This information is knows as random activation and is the ‘activation’ part of the activation-synthesis theory.

The information that comes from inside the brain itself is known as internally-generated information.  The brain then tries to make sense of the nonsense it has gathered.  It is synthesising the information to make a story; this is the synthesis part of the theory.

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Evidence for the activation-synthesis model of dre

REM sleep happens regularly throughout a night’s sleep, and happens regularly night after night. 

Sleep labs have shown everyone has regular REM patterns. 

As this happens in a regular pattern, Hobson and McCarley looked for an explanation that would explain this regularity and predictability.

Because people have movement inhibition during REM sleep and there is no input from the senses (sensory blockade) they felt there must be something happening in the brain itself to produce dreams.

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Development of the activation-synthesis model

Hobson and McCarley’s theory has been developed and added to over the years. 

Hobson said that he thought there was ‘meaning’ in dreams, that some ideas generated by the brain from the random ‘firing off’ of neurons could be useful and give the individual new ideas. E.g. if you wake up with a good idea it might have come from your dreams. 

Hobson also suggested that brain activity is likely to be genetic because it is found in everyone. 

He thought it might be there to test brain circuits or the stimulation of the brain during REM sleep must be important for normal brains to function when awake.

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Dreaming:Studies giving evidence

Hobson and McCarley tested cats to see which areas of the brain were active during REM sleep. 

They found that the pons and the reticular activating system (RAS) seem to be involved in shutting down physical movement during REM sleep.

Other evidence they used was that if the neurons activated during REM sleep are those in the brain that control balance, then the dreamer is likely to dream about falling.

This explains why dreams seem to have some meaning – they come from neurons that, when activated when the person is awake, have a specific purpose.

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Weaknesses of the activation-synthesis theory

Many people recognise parts of their dreams as something that happened the day before or in their lives.  This means that thoughts are not as random as activation-synthesis suggests.

Activation-synthesis theory is based on the idea that dreams often show unusual, bizarre situations and do not make full sense.  However, in a study only about 34% of 200 dreams did not make logical sense.

Other studies show that dreams do often make sense.  When talking about your dreams you are able to make sense of them and relate the events in the dream to your life.

Lucid dreaming – when people are dreaming but they know they are dreaming – does not fit with activation-synthesis, as it means dreams are controllable and not random.

Young children under the age of 5 seem to have very few dreams and their dreams are not yet very active, yet they have a normal amount of REM sleep.  This suggests dreams are not simply linked to REM sleep.




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Key terminology :Comparing dream theories

methodology – refers to how psychology works, including how data are gathered.  It involves considering, ‘how do we know?’ 

objective – where the researcher’s views do not affect the information that is gathered

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Revision notes:Comparing dream theories

To compare theories using methodology, list the methodology used in the two theories, then say how it is similar and different.  Try to give some good and bad points for each.

Methodology linked to Freud’s theory

Case studies                                        Free association

Little Hans                                           Dream analysis

Slips of the tongue

Methodology linked to Hobson and McCarley’s theory

Neurotransmitter functioning

Brain scanning                                       Animal experiments

EEG testing (detecting electrical activity in the brain)

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Case studies: Dreaming.

Case studies are less scientific than animal experiments and brain scanning.

 E.g. free association needs interpretation from the researcher, whereas brain scanning, although needing some interpretation, is much more objective.

Therefore Hobson and McCarley’s theory is more objective than Freud’s because of the methodology used to find evidence for the

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The nature-nurture debate refers to how far a characteristic or feature of humans comes from nature (genetics) or nurture (what they experience growing up).

Nature :Biology,Genes, hormones, brain structure

Hobson and McCarley’s theory is about nature – sleeping and dreaming

Freud’s theory has elements of nature as well – the structure of the mind, the power of the unconscious

Nurture:Environment, Upbringing and parents’ influences

Freud’s theory is about nurture because unconscious desires themselves come from experiences

But it is in our nature to have repressed wishes in our unconscious (it is the wishes themselves that come from nurture

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Key terminology:Theory.

A theory is said to be credible if it is developed using solid scientific evidence.  It is also said to be credible if it agrees with what we usually think.  Freud’s theory does not use scientific evidence – the unconscious is not measurable in any way.  Freud’s theory therefore lacks credibility.

·       Hobson and McCarley’s theory is credible because the evidence comes from scanning and from laboratory studies using animals; because these methods are scientific and objective research methods we can say their theory is credible.

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comparing theories.

Freud’s theory. Subjective, as meaning needs interpreting. Objective, as it uses scientific measures such as scanning and experiments

Lacks credibility because of lack of scientific methods and unlikely explanation (e.g. sexual interpretations)

Hobson and McCarley’s theory. Has credibility because of scientific methods and evidence from animal studies

Research methods. Uses case studies and dream analysis. (Freud)  Uses scanning and experiments (Hobson et al.)

Dreams are meaningful. Dreams have meanings with the story giving symbols as clues to unconscious wishes(Freud). Dreams have no meaning – they are random and meaningless (Hobson. et al)

Nature-nurture. Having a powerful unconscious is nature and its contents are nurture. Nature – dreaming is part of the way the brain and body work


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Key teminology:Case studies.

case study - a research method for studying an individual or small group and gathering in-depth and detailed information using different means. 

aim - a statement of what the study is being carried out to find. 

qualitative data - data involving stories or attitudes. 

quantitative data - data that involve numbers and statistics, such as percentages.

generalisability- refers to findings of studies and how far they can be said to be true of people other than those that were studied.  If findings are thought to be true of other people then they are generalisable.

reliability - refers to whether findings from a study would be found again if the study were repeated.  A study is reliable if the findings are replicated (found again).subjectivity - refers to research methods, where the researcher is somehow affecting the results, perhaps by their interpretation.

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Key teminology:Case studies.

objectivity - refers to research methods, where there is no bias, for example the researcher’s own views have not affected the findings.

privacy - an ethical guideline for studies that involve people as participants, which ensures that their names must not be recorded and they must not be identifiable.  Privacy is linked to confidentiality.

confidentiality - an ethical guideline for studies that involve people as participants, which ensures that information gained must not be shared with others without permission.  There are some occasions where confidentiality must be broken, however, if there are issues of safety for someone else.  Confidentiality is linked to privacy.

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Revision notes:Case studies.

A case study is an in-depth study that gathers a lot of detail about one person or a small group.

A case study rarely involves just one research method.  Case studies use as many other research methods such as questionnaires, interviews, experiments, case histories, secondary data from other sources and observations to gather as much information as possible.

The aim of a case study is a general idea of what why the study is being done and what the researcher expects to find out.  There is no hypothesis because a case study looks for detailed information about a person so a hypothesis wouldn’t be suitable.

Qualitative data refers to rich data which comes from open questions (e.g. Would you please tell me in as much detail as possible what you think of the present government)

Quantitative data concerns qualities and numbers and comes from closed questions (e.g. Do you like the present government? Yes/No) Case studies gather both types of data.

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Revision notes:Case studies cont.

Case studies aren’t generalisable because they are in-depth studies of an individual or a small group and we can’t say that the way this individual or small group behaves are true of other individuals in other situations.  For example, if we asked 30 people to memorise a list of words, in certain conditions be generalisable to the rest of the population.

Reliability is another weakness of case studies because case studies cannot be repeated to give the same results.  Also, they use many types of research methods to gather data and if the case study was repeated it would give different results.  E.g. if a case study was being conducted on the development of a 5 year old boy, repeating it when he was 10 wouldn’t give data about the development of a 5 year old boy.

Subjectivity in psychology means that the researcher has somehow affected the information that was gathered; case studies are generally said to be subjective because the researcher is deeply involved in data collection and the qualitative data has often been selected and interpreted by the researcher.

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Revision notes:Case studies cont2

Objectivity refers to there being no bias from the researcher and no interpretation involved. 

This is difficult in case studies.  

It can therefore be said that case studies are subjective, they lack generalisability, reliability and objectivity, and the researcher tends to interpret the data

Case studies are very detailed and provide information about many aspects of someone’s life and what they are like.  For example, questionnaires are limited to the questions they ask and experiments are limited to the tasks set.

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Revision notes:case studies/strengths and weakness

Case studies can explore different angles about someone by asking others for their opinions and asking the person themselves.  This detail is rich, and in-depth, which is s strength as new theories and ideas can develop from it.

The main strengths of case studies are that they gather valid (real-life) data and they gather detail that is hard to find in any other way.

Case studies are said to be valid because they are often about one unique individual and information comes directly from that one person.  As the data are about real-life situations, the data is valid.  Also, many different research methods can be used to gather other data, making it more likely that the findings are real.


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Key teminology:Freud's study Little Hans.

phallic – term used to refer to anything that is related or said to be represent the male penis, or the term can refer to the penis.

Oedipus complex – the idea that a boy from about the age of four years old will have unconscious feelings for his mother and want his father out of the way, though then fears his father and feels guilty too.

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Revision notes:Freud's case 'Little Hans'

  • Freud carried out a number of case studies, in order to find out what was holding his clients back.  Some of his clients had some bizarre dreams or phobias which Freud suggested was due to problems in the unconscious.                                                   
  • Little Hans (not his real name) was a boy Freud studied in 1909.

Background - Han’s parents were supporters of Freud’s ideas and agreed to log their son’s development and sent it to Freud.

Little Han (aged 3) sent messages to ‘The Doctor’ through his parents’ letters but only met Little Hans once or twice.

Horse phobia – Hans was afraid to go out of the house, and was particularly frightened of horses.  Freud analysed what Little Hans said, including his dreams, to find out what it was in Hans’ unconscious that was causing the phobia. This was so that these wishes and desires could be revealed to little Hans and so cure the phobia.

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Revision notes:Freud's case 'Little Hans' cont 1

Just before Little Hans’ was 5 years old his father reported to Freud that Little Hans had woken up crying. He said that he thought his mummy was gone and he had no mummy.

Freud said this was an anxiety dream and showed that he was anxious that his mother would leave him. This links to Freud’s Oedipus complex.

Freud thought that Little Hans (like other children his age) was in the phallic stage, the third stage of development when sexual interest is focused on the genital area for both boys and girls. For boys, sexual interest is transferred onto their mother.

Freud thought that a boy wanted to take his mother away from his father, but feared his father’s anger and also felt guilty about these desires.  All of these emotions are unconscious.

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Revision notes:Freud's case 'Little Hans' cont 1

To resolve his feelings, of guilt for wanting to take his mother away and of fear of his father, a boy would identify with his father and ‘become’ his father. 

Girls go through a similar experience called the Electra complex.

Little Hans also had a dream about two giraffes, a big one and a crumpled one.  The big giraffe shouted out because Little Hans (in his dream) took the crumpled one away from it.  The big giraffe stopped calling out and Little Hans says that in the dream he sat down on the crumpled giraffe.

Freud interpreted this dream as follows: the big giraffe was a symbol for a penis and the crumpled giraffe was Little Hans’ mother.  When the big giraffe shouted at Little Hans it showed Little Hans wanted to take his mother away from his father.  This was taken as evidence for the claim that a young boy has sexual feelings for his mother and also fears his father and feels guilt.


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Key terminology:Evaluating dream analysis

false memory – any memory that is not true and can be given by someone else ‘remembering’ an event and telling another person who then ‘remembers’ it as true.  Freud’s definition refers more to a false recovered memory, where a childhood memory (e.g. of abuse) is suggested by the analyst and accepted, then later found not to be true.

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Evaluation of dream analysis as a research method


1. It can access hard-to-reach information buried in the unconscious.

2. It is usually accepted by the client, helping them to be ‘cured’.

3. It uses information from the client directly and can be used as a legitimate part of a case study or therapy.


1. There may be ethical problems as the interpretation can be wrong which could lead to false memories which never actually happened.

2. It involves interpretation that is subjective.

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Ethics and case studies

  • Any study in psychology has to be done ethically which means that potential psychological and physical risks are considered carefully.
  • Privacy is about making sure that the identity of the participant is kept a secret.  The participant has a right to have their results kept private.
  • Confidentiality is also about privacy and refers to the participant’s name being withheld and their identity being kept secret.
  • Competence Ethical guidelines are given in the UK by the British Psychological Society (BPS) to protect participants taking part in psychological research such as case studies.
  • A researcher must be qualified and capable of carrying out the proposed research.  If necessary they must consult colleagues. 


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Revision notes:Job of a psychoanalyst

Most psychoanalysts work with people with mental health issues, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias or anxiety.  Sometimes they work with someone who is having problems with their relationships or managing their life, rather than someone diagnosed with a mental illness.

There are different types of psychotherapy including cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), humanistic therapy, general counselling, and hypnotherapy, but psychoanalysis is specific to Freud’s ideas. 

The aim of psychoanalysis is to uncover unconscious wishes and desires to find the reasons for the patient’s problems, which will help to solve them.  Some psychoanalysts train other psychoanalysts, so therefore don’t work with patients.

Psychoanalysts listen and observe, focusing on the emotions that the patient shows.  They look at both verbal and non-verbal information and record information from each session carefully

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Revision notes:Job of a psychoanalyst cont1

Having gained the information, the psychoanalyst then helps the person to understand their emotions.  ‘Making the unconscious conscious’ aims to release underlying issues, freeing the person from the behaviour causing the problem.

The client usually undergoes analysis about 4 times a week, (each session lasts about an hour) which is a huge commitment! The analysis can go on for a long time (months, years even) and takes place in a quiet, comfortable room, so that the client can relax and speak more freely.

The client usually sits on a couch with the analysts out of sight so as to no affect the client’s flow of information. Treatment cost at least £50 per session and is not usually available on the NHS

During dream analysis the client describes and talks about their dreams (as well as showing emotions which are noted).The analyst considers the manifest content and then draws out symbols to uncover the latent content.The psychoanalyst uses other information from free association, which adds detail to the dream analysis in order to help the client. 

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Revision notes:Job of a psychoanalyst cont2

Dream analysis is not always used as the main focus.  Transference and countertranference have more focus, revealing things about the client just as other methods do. 

Transference describes the way a client will transfer their emotions – love, hate, anger – on to the analyst, who must be prepared for this. 

Countertransference is the word that is used for the way an analyst is likely, in turn; to transfer their own feelings back onto the client again.  Psychoanalysts must be trained to do this!  By recognising which emotions are being transferred onto them, the analyst can find out what emotions are involved in any possible problems that the client has.

Most psychoanalysts work for themselves in private clinics and are not employed by the NHS (unlike clinical psychologists).  Most psychoanalysts worked with people with mental disorders before specialising in psychoanalysis.  Many also undergo training in family therapy, psychodrama or hypnotherapy.  They do not focus solely on psychoanalysis; it is one of the therapies they offer.

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Revision notes:How to become a psychoanalyst.

To be a psychoanalyst you need to able to listen carefully to people and observe them as well as being interested in people are the main skills required. You must be able to build a strong relationship with your clients without being judgemental about them.  You must also be able to detach yourself from their problems.

To become a psychoanalyst you have a degree or the equivalent of a degree and then undertake training that is approved by the International Psychoanalytic Association.  There are only 2 providers in the UK.  The training lasts for 4 years and is part time. The person being trained must undergo psychoanalysis themselves for 4 or 5 50 minute sessions a week.

The final part of the training is the psychoanalysis of 2 patients whilst being supervised by a qualified psychoanalysis where you see clients for 50 minutes each day for 4 or 5 days a week.  This lasts for two years and starts in the second year.  A second client is seen in the third year and the analysis of this client lasts for a year.    Like other professional people psychoanalysts must provide evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to show that they are keeping up with new issues and practising professionally.

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Key teminology:Sleep disorders.

insomnia - The most common sleep disorder.  It means someone cannot go to sleep or cannot stay asleep.  It will be diagnosed if it affects someone’s daily life and activities. It is more common as people get older.  Some prescribed drugs can cause this sleep disorder, as can other mental illnesses, or stressful life events. It is often treated using prescribed drugs. Other treatments include teaching the sufferer to relax or teaching them to focus on positive thoughts when they go to bed. 

hypersomnia - This sleep disorder means people feel very sleepy at all times of the day. Conditions such as narcolepsy can cause this.  It can also be caused by not sleeping properly through the night, perhaps due to breathing difficulties rather than psychological problems.

narcolepsy - This is a sleep disorder which means people can suddenly have attacks of sleep in the day.  It is a brain disorder.

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Key teminology:Sleep disorders cont.

circadian rhythm disorders - This is a disorder of the sleep wake cycle.  It causes problems with the body clock (24hr rhythm).  We usually sleep at night and wake in the morning (sleep cycle), and during sleep go through 5 sleep cycles.  Problems with the sleep-wake cycle bring problems for the body clock.  Problems can occur when people have changing shifts at work as it means they have to keep changing their sleep times.  It can be treated by using bright lights at certain times to reset the body clock.

parasomnias- These disorders occur when someone is asleep such as nightmares, sleep walking, and sleep terrors.  These are more common in children and males.

Sleep walking happens during non-REM sleep, and.  Teeth grinding and bedwetting are also examples of this type of sleep disorder.

REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) means that muscle paralysis is not activated, meaning violent movements occur during REM sleep. Drugs such as benzodiazepines are used to treat RBD.

Psychoanalysis can also be used to help these sleeping disorders.

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Revision notes:sleep disorders

Research has shown that without REM sleep for a prolonged period of time (about 2 weeks) we experience disorientation, memory difficulties, illusions, and paranoia.

Rats that have been kept awake have died!  It is the REM part of the sleep cycle that is really important and so sleeping problems are taken seriously.  Sleep laboratories and departments study sleep.

Problems with sleep can arise from psychological problems, or physiological problems.

Psychological problems are to do with the brain and mind.

Physiological problems are to do with body.

One example of a physiological sleep problem in snoring.  This is physiological because it is to do with breathing which is to do with the body.

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Revision notes:Primary and secondary sleep disorde

Primary sleep disorders are not related to any other problem but are problems in themselves, such as going to sleep and problems waking up.

Secondary sleep disorders stem from another problem, such as pain or jet lag, or stress.

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Revision notes:sleep disorder clinics.

Sleep disorder clinics are involved in the assessment and diagnosis of sleep problems.  Blood testing can be used to see if there is a genetic link for someone who has narcolepsys.

Observation and other measures can also help with diagnosis. An EEG can be used to study a person’s sleep cycles.  Researchers watch and record REM, or watch the restlessness an individual exhibits.  The person’s temperature may also be monitored. Many sleep clinics use a holistic approach (looks at lifestyle of client).

Medication such as benzodiazepines is prescribed for sleeping behaviour disorder

CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) encourages the individual to look at their thinking and perhaps change how they perceive things as well as change their behaviour. Acupuncture involves inserting needles in certain related parts on the body and can be used to help the body clock to readjust when the sleep-wake cycle is out of step. Hypnotherapy can be used to help clients relax in the case of insomnia and parasomnias.


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