the psychodynamic explanation

the psycholdynamic approach to explaining abnormality

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  • abnormality is caused by unresolved, unconscious conflicts in the mind formed in childhood.
  • mental illness is not a result of phyisical abnormality (biological approach)
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your mind consists of:

  • Id- always seeks pleasure and demmands immidiate satisfaction
  • Superego- insists on the morally right choice
  • Ego- mediates the opposing demands of the id and superego
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defense mechanisms

  • the mind uses defense mechanisms to protect the ego, for example denial and repression
  • early childhood experiences will later effect adult behaviour, for example if a child suffers bereavement, they may repress the feeling, but if a similar incident occurs to the adult, those repressed feelings from childhood will effect how the adult will deal with the latest loss
  • the unconscious defense mechanisms can affect our behvaiour and it they cannot be controlled they can lead to mental illness


  • denial can lead to schizophrenia
  • regression can lead to schizophrenia
  • repression can lead to depression
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