HideShow resource information
  • Created by: lauren
  • Created on: 12-05-14 20:51


The essence of psychodynamic approach is to explain behaviour in terms of its dynamics, like the forces that drive it. The best known example of this approach is Freuds psychoanalytic theory of personality, although there are many other psychodynamic theories based on Freuds ideas

Freud was the first to challenge the view that mental disorders were caused by physical illness, instead he propsed that psychological factors were responsible.

1 of 9


Behaviour is influenced by three parts of the mind;

ID this is the impulse (unconsious) part of personality, present at birth, demands immediate satisfaction pleasure principle. aim: to gain pleasure at any cost
EGO this is consious, rationla part of mind - develops at 2 years old. works out realistic ways to balance demands of id in socially acceptable way - reality principle
SUPEREGO last part to develop, age of 4 years old. senses right and wrong of your ideal self. seeks perfect and civilised behaviour - learned through identification with ones parents and others

Behaviour is influenced by different levels ofconsiousness and ego defences;

mind is like an iceberg, pre consious and unconsious lie under surface. consious mind is logical, preconsious mind is ruled by pleasure  - cant be accessed but shows itself in dreams. it is also related too ego defence mechanisms conflicts between id ego & superego create anxiety. ego protects itself with defences - causing disturbing behaviour e.g; boy who cant deal with new baby brother, regresses to earlier stage of helplessness-attention seeking

displacement; transfre impulses from one person too another, projection;  undesirable thoughts are attributed to someone else, repression; pushing memories into unconsious

2 of 9


A healthy personality is a balance between the id, ego and superego, a person with good ego strength is able to manage clashing personalities of id ego and super ego, ego strength can be enhanced or damaged by life experience. if an id becomes dominant that person will be selfish, anti social and lacking concern for others.


ORAL; pleasure gained by eating and suckling, as child grows gratification is thrh other body parts

ANAL; 1-3 yrs, body focus on **** - pleasure gained from expelling/withholding faeces

PHALLIC; 3-6 yrs, focus is on genitals and parent of opposite sex - resolved thorugh identifying with same sex parent. Oedipus complex- boys feel sexually attracted to mom, rivals for fathers love with her - wants too kill dad -left feeling guilty - so boy identifys with dad. identification leads to superego - takes on dads principles. Girls develop penis envy - blame mothers for not providing her with one - father becomes love object - penis envy turns into wanting child - identification with mother

LATENCY; nothing happens in psychosexual development

GENITAL; puberty- main pleasure source are genitals - development of independance

3 of 9


Experiences during psychosexual stages can determine adult personality - due to drustration or overindulgence - leading to fixation on stage

healthy outcome: able to form relationships with others, accept affection, enjoy food & drink
frustration: aggressive, dominane, pessimism, envy, suspision
overindulgence: optimistic, gullible, overdependant, trusting, admiration for others

healthy outcome: ability to deal with authority, balance between being orderly and disorganised 
frustration: neat, stingy , precise, orderly, obstinate
overindulgence: generout, messy, diorganised, careless, defiant

healthy outcome: superego is similar to same sex parents-developed consiousness and maturity 
frustration+overindulgence: reckless, self assures, sexual identity problems - homosexuality

all: is the ideal, well adjusted mature adult - love and be loved, work hard and contribute

4 of 9


Unconsious mind expresses itself through dreams - dream content can reveal this... id comes throguh in dreams - our impulses, wishes and fantasies. our irrational and instinct driven unconsious  thought called primary process thought, this form of thought is acceptable to us (repression) where we can act out our wishes and desires - if we dont dream - unhealthy levels of desiraty build up and threaten our sanity.

Wish fufilment; dreams are the unconsious fufilment of wishes that cant be satisfied in the consious mind- dreams protect sleeper but allow expression too buried urges.

Symbollic Nature of Dreams; latent content- real meaning of a dream is transformed inot innocuios form (manifest content- what you actually experience) e.g a penis is represented by a pen/snake, a ****** by tunnel/cave - but too understand symbolism - you must understand patients life content. so a fish can represent a friend who is a fisherman - didnt support dream dictionary not verything is symbollic "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"

Dreamwork;condensation(one dream image stands for several associations + ideas) Displacement(significance of object separated from real object and attached to something else-disguised) Representation(thought translated into visual images) Symbolism(symbol replaces action or idea Secondary elaboration(unconsious mind collects images and makes story

5 of 9


Process consists of reversing processes in manifest content - Freud suggests that a therapist should disregard any apparent connections between elements in the manifest content. Free association is used to uncover latent content - patient discusses elements of drem expressing any thoughts that occur to them. Dream analysis offers various interpretations of the dream based on patients free associations and knowledge of their life - allowing patient to pick interpretation

used PET scans to show active regions of brain during sleep, showing the rational part fo the brain is inactive during rapid eye movement (REM) whereas the forebrain centres concerned with memooery and motivation are very active - so the ego(consious) becomes suspended and the id is given free reign.

Hopfield(1983)- research on neural networks - computer stimulations that mimic action of brain. Show nerual networks deal with overloaded memories by comflating or condensing them - when unacceptable desires are censored and dealt with they emerge in new form - manifest content 

6 of 9


freud claimed personality is product of innate drives and childhood experiences. these innate drives consists of id, ego and superego - aswell and psychosexual stages we go through. however frustration or overindulgence in one of these stages lead to efect our personality - interactionist nature of this approach is a key strength

-it highlights the fact childhood is critical part of our development - affects who we become 
-freuds ideas have influenced therapies treating mental disorders - first person to recognise psychologoical factors also effect symptons like paralysis (anna o)
-psychoanalysis has helped people overcome probelms (anna o)
-useful for understanding health problems - childhood trauma or unconsious conflicts 

7 of 9


Reductionist approach;
in some ways it can be seen as reductionist - accused of 'mechanistic reductionism' because it  simplifies complex behaviour to the mechanics of the mind (id, ego or superego) and early childhood experiences (psychosexual stages) It also ignroes other important influences on behaviour like biochemistry and genetics - autism.

Deterministic approach;
infant behaviour is caused by innate forces, and adult behaviour is from childhood experiences - following we have no free will in who we become or how we behave. our personaility is 'shaped' and predetermined by forces we cannot change, this is a weakness because we can change how we behave if we want too - gives excuses for criminal behaviour - no responsibility 

8 of 9


Case Studies;
focused on an individual - idiographic approach- emphasising on uniqueness - main way of studying behaviour. involve one person giving a great detail. freud based his theory of personaility development on several case studies - Little Hans = oedipus conflict

:)true insight to behaviour, qualititive data, more understanding

:( cant generalise, no quantitiive, behaviour interpreted the way experimenter wants, gender culture and historical bias, restricted sample of vienesse women

Clinical Interviews;
psychoanalysis uses clincal interviews, talking about past emotions - unstructured format, questions arsie in response to patients answers - diagnosing dream analyisis and free association

:) good relationship, true answers,verbal and non verbal behaviour, qualative data

:( generalisable? interviewer bias

9 of 9


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Approaches resources »