AS Psychology - Psychodynamic Approach


Psychodynamic Approach

·         About the mind and energy. Idea that people have a certain amount of energy, and if much of that energy is needed to deal with the past then there might not be enough for the future.

·         Developing in a mentally healthily way and curing neuroses.

·         To do this the individual releases energy by exposing unconscious wishes and desires and making them conscious.

Neuroses- mental health problems, phobias, obsessions and hysteria. Individual realises that there is a problem and is able to focus on it and take steps to fix it.

Psychoses- mental health problems such as schizophrenia, where the individual is not able to help themselves because they aren’t aware they have a problem.

Freudian Theory:

·         Believed energy could be trapped in various development stages over the first five years of life.

·         Energy is an instinct and the basic instincts are hunger, thirst, the need for warmth and a sex drive.

·         Freud looked at an individuals need for pleasure and thought this was linked to various erogenous zones.

·         A baby’s need for pleasure focuses on the mouth (oral stage), the toddlers on the anus (the anal stage) and the young child’s on the genitals (phallic stage). If a child is fixated at one of these stages (meaning they do not get the right amount of pleasure) then energy is used up dealing with that. 

·         He focused on neuroses rather than psychoses- his cure was listening and analysing helping the individual to understand their fixations, therefore he needed to focus on people who could bring an understanding to their own symptoms.

Assumption 1: The importance of the unconscious mind.

·         Focus on how the unconscious is by far the largest part of the mind and has great influence on the individual, even though it cannot by definition is known. The individual does not know they are fixated.

Assumption 2: The importance of early experiences.

·         Focus on the theory on the first 5 years of life where the main stages are worked through.

Freud’s Theory of Personality

·         Suggested there were 3 aspects of personality; id, ego and superego.

·         Id: it is present at birth, basis of all our biological needs and desires. E.g. food, warmth etc. Pleasure principle- wants immediate gratification, wish fulfilment, dreams in adults. It is very powerful.

·         Ego: develops out of id a few months after birth. It acts as intermediary between id and real world. Reality principle- puts off gratification. Logical, strategy, planning. The go is weak.

·         Superego: holds societal laws, values, norms, prohibitions. Learns from parents other socializing agents. Your conscious- strives for perfections, not pleasure. Tries to stop impulses of id, push person towards perfections. Acts as morality principle.

·         For adult, personality should be balanced, ego successfully managing needs for both id + superego.


·         Successfully described the experience of being pulled in


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