The Psychodynamic Approach to Psychopathology

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  • Mental Disorder Results from Psychological rather than Physical Causes
  • Freud believed origins of mental disorder lie in unresolved conflicts in childhood... physical conflicts not disorders.
  • Unresolved Conflicts cause Mental Disorder
  • Conflicts between id, superego and ego create anxiety. 
  • Ego protects itself with various defence mechanism. Can be cause of disturbed behaviour if they are overused.
  • Early Experiences cause Mental Disorder
  • Ego not developed enough to deal with traumas, they are therefore repressed.
  • Death of a parent in early life may repress associated feelings, later losses may cause the child to re-experience which can lead to depression. 
  • Unconscious Motivations cause Mental Disorder
  • Ego defences; repression and regression, exert pressure through unconsciously motivated behaviour.
  • Freud proposed unconscious exists of memories and other info; hard or almost impossible to bring into conscious


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