PSYA2: Abnormality Revision (Psychodynamic Approach)

what happens in our childhood affects us in our future. 

Unresolved conflicts cause mental disorder

Unresolved conflicts between the id, the ego and the supergo create anxiety. We try to use defense mechanisms (created by the ego) to prevent us from this. BUT, these defense mechanisms can cause abnormal behavior if they are overused. 

Different types of defense mechanisms:

Repression - the unconscious exclusion of painful impulses, desires or fears from the conscious mind.
Sublimation - we act out unacceptible impulses by converting behaviors into 2 or more acceptible forms.
Reaction Formation - reduces anxiety by taking up the opposite feeling, impulse or behavior. 
Regression - when people abandon coping strategies and revert back to behavior used in earlier stages of develipment.  

1 of 4

Early experiences/relationships cause mental disor

poor quality relationships with parents make people more prone to mental health problems. Emotional energy cannot dissapear. Some anxiety disorders (e.g. OCD) can be explained by what happens during the anal stage of development. 

2 of 4

Unconscious motivations cause mental disorder

unconscious mind contains memories that are very difficult/impossible to acess; but still these unconscious memories have a powerful influence on our behavior leading to distress because the individual cant understand why they are behaving the way they are bhaving. 

3 of 4

General Evaluation of all 4 Approaches to Psychopa

Nature Vs. Nurture debate 
are people the product of their genes or ther environment?
Nature: abilities present at birth, and abilities determined by our genes
Nurture: everything we learn through our interactions with our environment

Some approaches focus on either one or the other (limitation). Some recognize both influence behavior (strength).

Determinism vs Free will debate
 determinism: an individual's behavior is shaped by internal or external factors (the individual has no control). 
free-will: individuals are free to chose how they feel and behave
deterministic approach = limitation

Idiographic vs. Nomothetic
idiographic: study the uniqueness of individuals to gain insight to human behavior (e.g. case study)
nomothetic: groups of people = general laws about human behavior.  

4 of 4


Emily Upson


Thanks, that's really helpful! :D

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Abnormality resources »