Psychology - Psychdynamic approach - Methodology

  • Created by: jkav
  • Created on: 11-05-15 10:23


Case studies 

The psychodynamic approach to studing behaviour is generally focused on the individual, observing particular 'cases' in great detail. This is known as idiographic approach. The idiographic approach emphasises the uniqueness of each individual, and so the case study method would be the main way that a psychodynamic psychologist would study human behaviour. Case studies involve studying one person in great detail, which often involvers spending a lot of time with the person, interviewing and observing him or her. Freud based his theory of personality development on several clinical cases. For example, the case of Little Hans was used to develop his ideas about the Oedipus conflict.


  • A true insight into behaviour can be otained, as case studies involve spending time with a person, rather than gaining a 'snap shot' of his or her behaviour, which is what would be produced by a lab experiment.
  • Descriptive, qualitiative data is obtained, which is important in trying to understand the reasons behind a peron's behaviour. We may be more able to draw valid conclusions about behaviour if we atke the time to study it in detail.
  • Idiographic research addresses the wholeness and uniqueness of the individual, and aims to give a complete in-depth pcture. This is invaluable if it is these unique qualities that are important in understanding why a person behaves in the way they do. 


  • Because case studies relate to single instances, it is not possible to generalise to other people. The results of a study are only…


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