Psychology AS psychodynamic approach

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Sigmund Freud believed...

  • A large part of our mental life operates at an unconscious level.
  • The importance of the unconscious mind.

He suggested we have 3 parts to our mind...

  • The conscious
    • what we are thinking about that we are aware of.
    • 'All we are aware of.'
  • The pre-conscious
    • Not what your thinking about but can be moved to conscious easily.
    • Material that will become conscious to us once we are aware of it.
    • thoughts that we can access e.g. memories, feeling etc..
    • 'What we can be aware of'
  • The unconscious (or subconscious) - 
    • stuff that you shouldn't be able to access (uneasy memories).
    • Not accessible to us.
    • Contains inner drives.
    • All conflicts take place here and must be released.
    • 'What we cannot be aware of'
  • The inner drives
    • Freud suggested that we have inner-drives - things that motivate us to act.
    • Thanatos - drive to self-destruct.
    • Eros - drive to survive
    • Libido - drive to reproduce (sex drive)

The Psyche (personality)

    • Id
      • The part of the mind that acts like the child in us
      • Driven by instincts
      • Seeks satisfaction with no care as to whether it is appropriate 
      • Freud called in the 'pleasure principle'
    • Ego
      • The part of the mind that acts like the caring parent figure.
      • Tries to satisfy the needs of the Id within the limitations of what is possible.
      • Defends the Id by using defence mechanisms.
      • Freud called it the 'reality principle'.
    • Superego
      • The part of the mind that acts like the authoritarian adult in us.
      • Pressures the ego to control the Id in line with morals and rules.
      • Consists of the ego-ideal - what we wish we were like.
      • Part of the mind where we set standards.
      • But also gives us pride and guilt.

Defence mechanisms

  • Conflict between the Id, ego and Superego lead to anxiety.
  • Coping mechanisms allow Id impulses to be expressed in ways acceptable to the ego and reduce anxiety.
  • They are often quite effective, especially on short term.
    • Repression - 
      • Something too depressing is consciously 'forgotten' such as abuse or a death.
    • Denial
      • Something that is too painful to deal with, such as the knowledge that your going to die, is not consciously acknowledged.
    • Displacement -
      • Feelings cannot be expressed towards their real targets so they use substitutes on which they can take out their feelings.
    • Sublimation -
      • An acceptable activity is found to express an unacceptable impulse.
    • Rationalism -
      • Finding superficial acceptable reasons for a behaviour to protect yourself from negative feelings about the self.
    • Reaction Formation -
      • A person consciously feels or thinks the opposite of their unconscious feeling or thoughts.
    • Regression -
      • A symbolic return to an earlier stage of development. 
    • Projection -
      • Projects thoughts and emotions onto someone else
      • projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others have those feelings.

Theory of personality

  • Child development 
    • The Id - child is born with an active id; all demands must be met and the child doesn't care about others.
    • The ego…





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