Psychodynamic Approach

  • Created by: Annagc
  • Created on: 31-05-19 13:53

Basic Assumptions

  • All behaviour can be explained in terms of inner conflicts in the mind
  • Freud highlights the role of the unconscious mind, the structure of personality and the influence of childhood experiences on later life 
  • Freud believed that the unconscious mind determines most of our behaviour and we are motivated by unconsciour emotional drives 
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Structure of Personality

  • Id: biological instictive drives, present at birth, motivated by the pleasure principle, demands instant gratification
  • Ego: developes age 1-3, motivated by reality principle, mediates conflicts between id and superego, uses defence mechanisms to achieve this 
  • Superego: develops 3-5 years, morality principle, punishes the ego with guilt
  • Dominant superego may lead to depression
  • Dominant ID may lead to psychosis e.g. SZ 
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Structure of the Mind

  • The conscious: we are aware of it and can access without effort, contains part of the ego
  • The preconscious: We cannot access it without effort , contains the ego and some of the superego
  • The unconscious: can't be accessed without the help of a psychoanalyst, contains superego and Id
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Defence mechanisms

  • Repression: used by the ego to keep disturbing memories in the unconscious mind where they can't be accessed 
  • Displacement: an impulse is redirected from an original target onto a more acceptable one 
  • Denial: the existence of unpleasant realities is denied and kept out of conscious awareness 
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Psychosexual Stages of Development

Oral: source of pleasure is mouth, failure to complete stage leads to oral fixation e.g. smoking, aggression

Anal: source of pleasure is anus, failure to toilet train can lead to obeseesiveness and tidiness or untidiness and generosity

Phallic: source if pleasure is genitals, fixation on this stage can lead to unusual relationship with parent, vanity, self-obsession, sexual anxiety

Latent: sexual drives are repressed, focus on same sex frienships and sports etc

Genital: The genitals e.g sex, fixation should lead to a mentally healthy adult 

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  • Provided the basis for many psychological therapies 
  • Can be used to explain mental disorders such as depression and SZ although they are rarely used in mainstream psychology 
  • Concept of importtamce of childhood on later life has been very influential 
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Positive Evaluation

  • Practical applications
  • Importance of childhood 
  • Recognises social and cultural factors as the way out innate drives are expressed is shaped by our environment 
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Negative Evaluation

  • Abstarct concept which are difficult to test experimentally
  • Case studies e.g Little Hans lacks population validity 
  • Unstructured interviews are biased due to interpretation
  • Unfalisifiable 
  • Disempowers individual as they aren;t responsible for the disorders 
  • Can't explain biological symptoms e.g. enlarged ventricles in SZ 
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Stance on Debates

  • Strongly deterministic
  • Nature and nurture
  • Reductionist
  • Nomothetic e.g. structure of mind, idiographic as thy manifest differently in the individual
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