Psycodynamic theory


Outline; psychodynamic theory

Freud; behaviour motivated by internal forces, abnormality caused by their imbalance . Mental illness from unresolved conscious conflicts, usually occur in early childhood.

id; sexual, aggressive, pleasure seeking. ego; rational, behave socially acceptable way. allow id desires by socially appropriate means. superego; conscience, moral judgements, guilt. id what it wants as long as moral. 

Weak ego cant cope with demands of id and superego, other may dominate the personality. Unchecked id impulses expressed in self-destructive and immoral behaviour; conduct disorders in childhood and psychopathic behaviour in adulthood. Too powerful superego:too harsh, inflexible in moral values, restrict id, deprived of socially acceptable pleasures. create neurosis, expressed in anxiety disorders, phobias and obsessions.

Cant access contents of own unconscious. Traumatic memories, inappropriate desires, unresolved conflicts are buried by ego defence mechanisms; repression, projection, denial, regression, displacement, sublimation.

Children pass 5 psychosexual stages of development, each stage marked by behaviour from which child achieved almost sexual satisfaction. Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latency, Genital 

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Evaluate; psychodynamic theory

First explanation of psychopathologies that focused on psychological factors. Paved the way for future developments/explanations from behavioural and cognitive psychologists.

Empirical evidence in support of the existence of defence mechanisms; overall support 

The fact that the psychodynamic perspective demonstrated the association between traumatic childhood experiences and the onset of adult psychological disorder has led to the development of successful treatments, such as psychoanalysis.

Criticised for focusing too much on early problems and failing to recognise current issues patients could be facing and which ultimately could be the cause of their psychopathology.

The concepts of approach such as the components of the psyche are difficult to test.  Difficult to validate full claims as they cannot all be empirically tested.

No consideration given to biological or genetic factors, narrow focus in of explanation of potentially complex disorders.

Based primarily on development of neurotic disorders. Not easily applied to disorders such as schizophrenia, limited universal application 

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