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Unit 2- psychology The psychodynamic approach Define the psychodynamic approach
The approach focuses on the influence of unconscious desires and repressed emotions in motivating behaviour and personality
Unconscious is a vast area of the mind which stores all those desires, thoughts, memories and fantasies which may threaten our sense of selfworth and identity
They are repressed yet their energy requires discharge and thus Freud believed that the ego attempts to do this through the use of defence mechanisms, dreamwork jokes, Freudian slips and hysteric symptoms
Freud also depicted the id as the unconscious part of the personality made up of biological drives, predominantly for sex and aggression, which are repressed due to their socially unacceptable nature
Aspects of the superego or morality principles are also unconscious and exert constrains upon our behaviour
A second assumption of the approach is the importance of early childhood in shaping adult personality
(now describe the psychosexual stages, and the effects of over and under gratification and fixation on adult personality types)
Third assumption is that behaviour/personality are determined by an interaction between nature and nurture
We are born with instinctive drives for sex and aggression (nature, survival value; evolutionary advantages if we have these drives), however the drives are modified by experiences within the family during early childhood (0-5 years), (nurture) Terms and definitions Conscious
Contains all conscious feelings that we are currently aware
Section is very small, comparing it to the 'tip of the iceberg' believing that a vast majority of the mind is inaccessible
Only part of personality available to awareness is part of the ego which is the reality principle
E.g. listening to music and singing along this would be occurring in your conscious mind Preconscious
Small section of the mind which lies 'beneath the surface' of conscious awareness
Contains thoughts and feelings which can be accessed but of which we are not currently aware
E.g. when listening to a song and someone asks you when you first heard that song, think for a while, then remember it was on the radio when you were driving your car Unconscious
Vast section of the mind, containing a mass of socially unacceptable thoughts, desires, fantasies and traumatic memories
Inaccessible to conscious awareness, acts as a storage bin for anything which might threaten one's self identity and self-esteem.
Thought where all thoughts originate thus some material may become conscious but other material may never become conscious due to its threatening nature
Psychoanalytic therapy is supposed to help people by allowing some of this unconscious material to become conscious, thus freeing a person from the constraints of their past experiences. Id
Babies are born as a bundle of 'id' or constrained biological drives or impulses
The id works on the pleasure principle and is irrational and demanding
It motivates behaviour but at an unconscious level
E.g. if a man spilt a drink on a woman, Freud might explain that this man's id driving him to spill the drink in order that he can help her to clean it up, thus allowing him to touch her. The man would remain completely unaware that he even liked the woman Ego
Formed in the second year of life, during anal stage Rational part of the personality and works on the reality principle Job is to meet the demands of the id while still satisfying the superego, or morality principle
Happens through defence mechanisms, hysteric symptoms and dreamwork
E.g. the ego may translate a desire for sex into a dream about horse riding or some other physically demanding activity Superego
Formed as a result of a resolved Oedipus/ Electra complex, during the phallic stage
Two components; the ego ideal which rewards us with pride and selfesteem for 'doing the right thing', but also the conscience which punishes us with feelings of shame and guilt for doing 'the wrong thing'
Like our 'inner-parent' and represents societies attitudes about what is right and wrong
E.g. superego may exert its influence by making a person feel ashamed of their sexual desires and put other priorities ahead of their sexual relationship, such as work or child care Defence mechanism
Short term coping strategies employed by the ego in order to meet the conflicting demands of the id and superego
Many defence mechanisms including repression and denial which involve pushing a desire or memory out of the conscious awareness into the unconscious
Other defence mechanisms involve expressing the desire but in a different way. E.g. in projection one's own desires or undesirable characteristics are attributed to others and the person will behave towards the other person in a way keeping with this cognitive shift, i.e. a person may lavish attention on others when they really desire that attention themselves
In displacement a persona may express their aggression towards their children when their real source of anger is their own parents Repression
Defence mechanism which protects the self-esteem from conscious awareness of the id's socially unacceptable desires and also from experiencing recall of traumatic experiences
Sometimes called motivated forgetting
Thoughts, feelings and traumatic memories are stored in the unconscious mind.
E.g. Williams (1991) noted that 38% of women sexually abused as children were unable to recall their experiences 17 years later as adults Projection
People who use projection 'see' certain qualities or personality traits in others which are in fact true of themselves, but they do not recognise this at a conscious level
If the individual was to recognise these traits as part of their own personality they may find this distressing
So the ego expresses this knowledge by making it relate to someone else; it is 'easier' to understand and reason about the faults in others than ourselves
In a way, this method of distancing one's self from negative qualities allows the person to objectify and consider the information at 'arm's length'
Examples of projection
E.g. obsessive animal lovers who dote on their pets like babies, may be expressing their own need for love and attention, needs which perhaps were not met in childhood and continue to affect in adult; instead of admitting their own emotional needs they perceive the animals as in need of constant fuss and attention, making their pet the centre of their universe meets their need the be the centre of someone else's
Little hand case study (Freud 1909) the boy is scared of horses, implying that he thinks they are dangerous; perhaps his fear of the horse as an aggressor is projection of his own unconscious desire to attack and destroy his father. It is easier to see others as aggressive and harmful than to accept our own violent potential.
All individuals pass through a series of stages in a fixed order, each of which is characterised by specific desires and conflicts.
The stages are oral (0-1), anal (1-3), phallic (3-5/6), latency (6-puberty) and genital (puberty +)
The resolution of the conflicts and the extent to which the desires are met will determine aspects of the adult personality
E.g. a child who is fixated in the oral stage due to over gratification may develop personality traits such as self-centeredness and/or high dependency on others. Oral stage
First psychosexual stage last from birth to around 18 months
Divided into two sub-stages; oral receptive and oral aggressive
Erogenous zone is the mouth and pleasure is derived from sucking, (oral receptive) and then from biting (oral aggressive)
A conflict has to be resolved to move from breast or bottle to solid food (weaning)
Difficulty with feeding or weaning too early or too late can result in over or under gratification of pleasure needs, can lead to maladaptive behaviour in adulthood such as over eating and other addictions and certain socalled 'oral personality' traits such as sarcasm, dependency and selfcentredness Anal stage
Second psychosexual stage, last from about 18 months to age 2/3
Stage divided into two sub stages; anal expulsive and anal retentive
Erogenous zone is the anus and pleasure is derived first from expelling and retaining faeces
Conflict which has to be resolved which is potty training and this related to gaining control over one's biological needs
Potty training too early or too late, or overly strict or lenient parenting at this stage can result in under or over gratification of pleasure needs
Lead to maladaptive behaviour in adult hood and so-called 'anal personality' traits
(over indulgence leads to) Anal expulsive personality is messy, creative may be disorganised
(frustration leads to) Anally retentive personality is meticulous, orderly, obsessed with cleanliness and stubborn, they may be mean with money and may be possessive about property and rights Phallic stage
Third psychosexual stage and lasts from 3 to 5/6
Erogenous zone is the genitals which become a source of interest and please
Stage is characterised by the Oedipus complex in boys and the Electra complex in girls
Complexes successfully resolved through identification with the same sex parent, this should lead to development of gender identity and the superego
Poor resolution can lead to problems with gender and morality, and 'phallic personality' traits such as recklessness, narcissism and exhibition Latency stage
Fourth stage of development, last from around the age of 6 up until puberty
No specific erogenous zone and sexual energy is repressed and has no requirement to be expressed
Children tend to have same sex friendships and focus on sport and school Genital stage
Final stage starts at puberty and leads into adult hood
Erogenous zone returns to the genitals and is characterised by a reawakening of the libido
So long as fixation did not occur in any of the preceding stages then a well-adapted personality should result and individuals should be able to form opposite sex friendships and romantic relationships
Difficulties in resolving the Oedipus complex may result in homosexuality and problems with maintaining romantic relationships Oedipus complex
Occurs in the phallic stage of development (age 3-5/6)
Your boy has feelings of desire for his mother and sees his father as a rival for her attention
He is jealous of his larger physical status and intimacy with his mother
He is angry and wants to get rid of his father so he can have his mother to himself
He is also terrified that his father will castrate him as punishment for his unacceptable thoughts and feelings
The boy is consumed with passion, rage, jealousy and fear and so the ego employs the defence mechanism of 'identification' whereby the boy is able to enjoy his mother vicariously through his father, by becoming more like him and adopting aspects of his identity
This successful resolution leads to development of male gender identity and a well formed superego (morality principle)
Girls are said to experience a similar conflict known as the Electra complex The Electra complex
Phallic stage (age 3-5/6) girls have feelings for their father
Understand they do not have a penis and develop penis envy, though this feeling is not as strong as castration fear so girls do not identify with their mothers to resolve their feelings as strongly as boys identify with their fathers
Girl focuses on her father because she thinks he will give her a penis
Some theorists have said that the replacement for a penis is a baby, so the girl unconsciously wants a baby and that is why she wants her father
Other theorists say that it is male power that a girl wants from her father
Girl want father and feels guilty about these unconscious feelings and resolves the demands of the id (the feelings) and the superego (the guilt) by identifying with the mother, taking on female norms, behaviours and beliefs Evaluate Freud's theory of psychosexual development Application to real life
Freud's theory of the psychosexual stages could be seen to be useful in real life because from this he developed psychoanalytic therapy (psychoanalysis) where he would use various techniques such as dream analysis and free association to get his patients to recall aspects of their childhoods linked to the psychosexual stages. The reason that this is strength of his theory is that before psychoanalysis, treatments for mental health conditions were sometimes brutal such as ice baths and shaking therapy. Although by modern standards it is argued that psychoanalysis is no more effective than other forms of talking cures, he was the first person to pioneer this form of therapy. Comparison with other explanations
One weakness of Freud's theory is that certain research findings cannot be accounted for successfully. For example, O'Brien noted that children as young as two show sex-typed toy preferences and Freud can't explain this
because he says gender identity is not developed until the end of the phallic stage (age 5/6).
However, other approaches in psychology account better for findings such as these, e.g. the learning approach says that boys and girls are treated differently from birth and therefore their differing experiences in the world lead them to show differing behaviours much earlier than Freud suggested. Whereas the biological approach suggests that differences are likely to be apparent from birth due to sex differences in hormones levels and differences in brain lateralisation meaning different sorts of play might be preferred. Methodology
One weakness of Freud's theory of psychosexual development is that the research evidence that he used to support his theory, such as the Little Hans case study, is not objective or scientific. Case studies are not generalizable since they are only done on individual people and his sample was not representative because his participants were mainly white, Viennese middle class women with neuroses who were paying him for therapy.
He also developed his whole theory of child development on the analysis of just one child who he only met once
His techniques such as dream analysis have been criticised for being completely subjective which means his works lacks reliability, in that dreams may be interpreted differently by differently analysts.
He has also been criticised because any concepts such as the unconscious cannot be observed and therefore simply cannot be studied empirically.
The theory of psychosexual stages suggests that there are various personality types which occur due to fixation, or experiences of under or over gratification of needs in the oral, anal and phallic stages of development and research by Fisher and Greenberg (1977) has shown that features such as meanness, obstinacy and tidiness are correlated as suggested in the anal retentive personality for example.
However, research by Hunt (1979) has shown that people with these personality types do not show consistent experiences of harsh toilet training in the anal stage however and this is therefore evidence against Freud's theory.
More research against Freud's explanation comes from cross cultural studies such as that of Malinowski of the Trobriand islanders where boys are raised by their mothers and their uncles (an avuncular society). Here there should be no sexual jealousy between boys and their uncles as the uncles are not in a sexual relationship with the mothers, yet the boys do still come into conflict with their uncles. This shows that Freud may have been wrong to focus on sexual jealous as the motivator in the Oedipus
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