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Psychodynamic approach


1. the importance of the unconscious mind


conscious: thoughts and feelings are accessable

unconscious: unaware of our thoughts and feelings, freudian slips and dreams

pleasure, sex, aggression

2. the importance of childhood experiences on our adult personality

relationship with parents


5 psychosexual stages - oral, anal phallic, latent, gential

fixation - overindulgence or frustration

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psychodynamic approach


tripartite personality

id: pleasure principle, aggressive and selfish

ego: reality principle, understanding, realistic and helpful

superego: moral principle, scared of doing the wrong thing and shy

5 psychosexual stages

fixation: child libido

oral agressive - suspicious and likes to chew things

phallic stage - confident and vein

defence mechanism: ego to protect us

repression: freudian slips and mental health issues0

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psychodynamic approach


Assumption: early childhood experience affect our later adult behaviour 

Free association

aim: make the unconscious conscious, deal with abnormal behaviour logically

link: unconscious driving behaviour

talking cure, alternative to hypnosis

client leads discussion, thearapist intervenes, possible orgin, rud or irrelevant 

catharsis: negative emotions are remembered and discharged


Anna O: fear of drinking, repressed memories

Pole & Jones: client must see a problem and want to change, reduce symptoms

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psychodynamic approach

Strengths and weaknesses 

+ case studies are commonly used

Anna O: idiographic, rich qualitative data, in-depth study, uncommon case

+ nature-nurture debate

unconscious mind (nature) and early childhood experiences (nurture)

holistic: compare, reflect the complexity of human behevaiour

- deterministic

internal (genes) and external (experiences) forces

id = aggressive, not responsible for our behaviour

- unscientific

case study and clinical interviews: subjective, unfalsifiable, difficult to replicate and prove

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psychodynamic approach

Methodology - the approach is idiographic and focuses on what makes us us unique

case studies - diary entries and personal records

clinical case study: study a person during therapy, background

retrospective case study: recall their past, Anna O and Little Hans

+ rich qualtitative data, uncommon cases

- open to distortions, time consuming, difficult to analysis, middle class Viennese women

clinical interviews

face to face, open ended, predetermined and spontaneous questioning

free association

+ less time consuming, non-verbal

- uncomfortable, may lie, difficult to replicate

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