Psychodynamic Approach

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  • Created on: 06-05-19 16:47

Assumption 1- unconscious mind

Only aware of small amount of brain activity. The unconscious mind is what drives our behaviour and emotions. Unresolved conflicts from day-to-day life to help us deal with them. Builds upover time. The conscious- small amount of activity we are aware of. The preconscious are things we could be aware of if we wanted to or tried. The unconscious mind are things we are unaware of. Most important part of the mind in determining our behaviour. Fantasies and dreams.

Example-defence mechanisms and depression- If too much of what we experience is pushed into our unconscious mind, Needs a safety valve, meaning that the ego needs to create ways to ease pressure on the unconscious mind, which is done through defence mechanisms. They distort or deny reality to protect the ego, allowing the eprson to cope with life. In the long-term, if they're employed too frequently, they can cause psychological pressure. Repression- forcing disturbing thoughts and memories into unconscious mind to release psychic energy.

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Assumption 2- tripartite personality

According to Freud, our personality is split up into 3 parts. The id and superego are split up into 3 parts. The id and superego are at conflict, and the ego has to manage them. The person needs to develop a strong ego to cope with the demands of each, allowing expression at the right times. Id, pleasure, set of instincts we are born with, selfish and demand immediate gratification. Pleasure principle. Superego, morality,moral part of the personality concerned with right and wrong, develops at age 5 through socialisation process. Ego, reality, conscious, rational part of the mind. It suppresses the id until appropriate times.

Example- different personality types. Depends on the ego strength. A strong go can manage pressures effectively. If one is dominant, it will cause different personality types. Id- selfish, anti-social, uncaring. Superego- moral, judgemental, guilty.

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Assumption 3- influence of childhood experience

Psychical conflict highest as a child as they don't have a developed ego. Traumatic events as a child are pushed into the unconscious mind as they're too painful or complicated for a child to make sense of.Events in childhood can lead to fixation on a stage of psychosexual development. Hedonistic- they are driven to seek pleasure and gratify the id's desires. Sources of pleasure are determined by the location of the libido. As a child moves through the stages, the location of the libido changes. Oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital stages. For example, fixation and personality types. Right amount of gratification, they will develop normally. Too little or too much, they will become fixated on that stage. They will experience repression to that stage. Frustration, overindulgence. Retentive/expulsive.

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Application to relationship

Can only form healthy relationship as an adult if they form a strong attachment to a caregiver as it forms a template for future relationships. Bowlby 'Theory of Attachment', which is based on the concepts of imprinting. Attachment is adaptive, and it ensures survival. Attachmement is innate, we naturally seek attachments through social releasers, which adults react to. One relationship is more important than the rest, which is the monotropic bond., and this bond creates an internal working model for furture relationships.Acts as a template- ability to trust others. continuinity hypothesis. Bond is created in the sensitive period, 2 1/2 years old.

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Main components of dream therapy

Wish fulfillment- satisfying the mind. This is done symbolically. Latent content is the real meaning of the dream, and manifest content content is the part of the dream we can recall. The dreamwork is the way in which latent content is turned into manifest content- symbolism, disguise concepts or objects. 

The theraputic process is client-driven. The therapists will interpret manifest content into latent content. The individual will use free association and will try to remember associated emotions. The client will decide upon the ultimate explanation of the dream. The client will then enter cartharsis to deal with associated emotions. 

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Evaluation of dream analysis

Falk- comapred two groups of women going through divorce- control group and DA. They gained insight and had increased self-esteem levels. However, it was self-report, and the results could be subjective. It's also not generalisable to other groups. One group of people in one situation.

Hill- undergrad students, dream interpretation sessions, experienced a kind of insight. They shared common traits such as openness, and many were female. This could mean that it's not generalisable, therefore lacking population validity. There could also be aplacebo effect.

Experience of the therapists? May not be well trained in this area. 

Dreams are subjective, it could mean one thing to one person and a different thing to another. 

Not much research evidence into dream analysis.

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Ethical considerations of DA

  • Therapist-client relationship- client may becomehighly dependent on insight into their issues. May feel obliged to accept the interpretations put forward by the therapist.
  • False memory syndrome. Can be distressing and affect their relationships as they believe something happened when it didn't.
  • Risk of harm. bringing up traumatic events, which could cause distess to the individual.
  • Privacy and confidentiality. they have to reveal details of their private lives, have to be honest to get an accurate interpretation. 
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Bowlby- methodology

Opportunity sampling, series of case studies.Included mothers and their children. Two groups, thief and non-thief. Took place at the clinic in which Bowlby worked, Tavestock clinic.

Thief group- 31 boys, 13 girls. Aged between 5 and 17. Graded in terms of the severity of their stealing. Average intelligence, 50% had IQ between 85 and 114, 15 had a lower IQ and 2 had higher. 

Control group. 34 boys and 10 girls. Similar to thief group. Emotionally disturbed but did not steal. Similar intelligence to thief group.

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Bowlby procedures

  • Child arrives at clinic.
  • Psychologist assesses intelligence and emotional attitude in which child approaches test.
  • Social worker takes preliminary psychiatric history.
  • Reports given to psychiatrist.
  • Psychiatrist interviews child and then the mother. 
  • Case conference help where information and impressions are pooled and considered alongside other evidence such as school reports. 
  • Tentative diagnosis of 1 of 6 character types. 
  • Further interviews are undertaken, as well as psychotherpay and an opportunity for mother to discuss concerns with a social worker. Usually continued for 6 months or more. 
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Findings of Bowlby

  • Characterised into 6 groups. Only 2 of the group were 'normal'. 3 of control were 'normal'.
  • There were 14 affectionless 
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Bowlby conclusions

  • Early experiences such as mother-child separation can have a large effect on development. Increases likelihood of developing affectionless character. 
  • Suggested that they might not have become offenders if they didn't experience separation. The age of separation may become important. 
  • Noted that crime was not just a psychological probem. It is also a social and economic problem as well e.g. poverty, had housing and recreational activities. Complex factors need to be studied to ascertain the weight of each one. 
  • Suggests that the earlier the problem is diagnosed the better, preferably before they're 3.
  • Child separation can't always be avoided, but a greater understanding of implications can help.
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Evaluation of Bowlby- methodology and procedures.

  • Population validity- there was a control group to compare what made the theif group different. However, an unemotionally disturbed group with separation would have also been of benefit to see if these children differed in any way. Not generalisable to all children. A collection of children Bowlby was interested in studying. However, Bowlby already knew the children, which could have caused a researcher bias, potentially less objective. All from the same place; could be similar.
  • Cause or effect? Did the affectionless character cause theivery or did thievery cause affectionless character. Study relies on self-report, could be subjective. 
  • Bowlby knows the children which could cause a bias. 
  • The children or mothers could have lied in the intervoew to show themselves in a different light. 
  • Can't control other variables thataffect their lives. 
  • They go to the same centre, what they would be doing usually. Generalisable to kids real life.
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Ethics of Bowlby

Risk to the participants values, beliefs, relationships, status or privacy

Vulnerable individuals

Valid consent

Risk of anxiety, stress, humiliation or pain

Confidentiality and privacy

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