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Psychodynamic Approach

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Joanne Maxwell

on 17 March 2016

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Transcript of Psychodynamic Approach

The Unconscious Mind
Freud's Theory
Freud's theory can be divided into three main areas:

The structure of personality
The structure of the mind
The psychosexual stages of development.
The superego
The Id
According to Freud, the id is the personality construct that we are born with. The id is in the unconscious, it is based on immediate gratification and is driven by the life (eros) and death (thanatos) drives. (survival)
The Psychodynamic Approach
Freud, Erik Erikson & Melanie Klein
Basic Assumptions
Behaviour & personality is largely determined by unconscious motives
We have little insight into who we actually are because of defense mechanisms (unconscious)
Early childhood experiences determine our adult personality & behaviour
The best method to study humans is the case study
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The structure of the personality
The Id
The ego
The strength of each individual force is a factor in personality –
If a person's superego is too strong, they are seen as rigid, pompous or self righteous.
If a person's id is too strong, they are seen as delinquent, antisocial or self-centred.
In an emotionally healthy person Freud saw the ego as the strongest component- able to satisfy the needs of the id, whilst operating within the parameters of the super ego. A balanced person (those with a balanced personality) is able to meet their own needs without taking advantage of others.
The conscious mind
Its energy is called the “libido”. It operates on the
pleasure principle
Can you think of any examples?
The id's primary driving force is sexual instinct. It is an important part of our personality because as newborns, it allows us to get our basic needs met.

Freud believed that the id is based on our pleasure principle. In other words, the id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation. When a child is hungry, the id wants food, and therefore the child cries. When the child needs to be changed, the id cries. When the child is uncomfortable, in pain, too hot, too cold, or just wants attention, the id speaks up until his or her needs are met.
The id doesn't care about reality, about the needs of anyone else, only its own satisfaction. When the id wants something, nothing else is important.
The ego is based on the
reality principle
. It understands that other people have needs and desires too.
It’s the ego's job to meet the needs of the id, while taking into consideration the reality of the situation. It understands we cannot always have what we want when we want it.
Freud stated the Ego’s job is to maintain an equal balance between the needs of the Id and the Superego.
The Ego
Within the next three years, as the child interacts more and more with the world, the second part of the personality begins to develop.
Freud called this part the Ego.
Can you think of an example?
Because of this expansion of their viewpoints, children of three can understand that impulsiveness and self-centred behaviours often have unpleasant consequences.
As mentioned the ego is based on the reality principle and is under constant threat (pressure) from the id and the superego.
Therefore the ego utilizes defense mechanisms to protect itself.
The ego is in the conscious mind. (Unlike what?)
The Ego
It needs to maintain a state of equilibrium between the id and the superego which is acceptable by society.
The Pre-conscious
The Superego
The 3 structures of the mind
The 3 structures of the personality
According to Freud, the Superego develops by the age of five, (by the end of the phallic stage) completing the basic three factors determining a balanced personality.
The Superego is what some people would call the conscience, since it helps to dictate our sense of right and wrong. It is believed to be located in the pre-conscious.
Freud's Case studies
Freud primarily used the case study method for his research. Although
he mentions as many as 133
cases in his writings,
he only documents 6
detailed accounts of individuals.
Despite his emphasis on the importance of childhood experiences on adult development,
Freud only documented 1 case study of a child
. For this reason, the Little Hans case study is of crucial importance in Freudian theory.
It develops as we start to internalise the rules and regulations of our parents and the society in which we live, so it is kind of our internal parent. The Superego is the moral part of us and develops due to the moral and ethical restraints placed on us by our caregivers. These then become part of the long term personality.
It is based on the


Denial: Pretending that an anxiety provoking problem doesn't exist.
Displacement: Redirecting anger or aggression on less threatening targets.
Intellectualisation: Avoiding unpleasant emotions by focusing on the facts of the situation.
Projection: Placing the traits that you find unacceptable in yourself onto someone else.
Rationalisation: Inventing a seemingly reasonable explanation rather than owning up to the truth.
Reaction Formation: Pretending to have beliefs in opposition to your true opinions because it is less stressful.
Regression: Returning to an earlier developmental stage.
Repression: Keeping anxiety provoking thoughts at an unconscious level, rather than facing them.
Sublimation: Acting out undesirable impulses in a socially acceptable way.
Suppression: Purposefully pushing anxiety provoking thoughts or memories into the unconscious.
Defence Mechanisms
Our Ego, if you believe Freud's hypothesis, has a fairly complicated task before it. In order to live happy and successful lives, we have to find ways to keep everything in balance, seek out things that we need, and take the needs of our loved ones into consideration, all while dealing with the stresses and complications of everyday life. Freud believed that we are able to manage because our Egos can employ Ego Defence Mechanisms when necessary. As long as these defence mechanisms are not used at inappropriate times or overused, they can be quite helpful.
Defence mechanisms operate at an unconscious level and help protect us from unpleasant feelings, which could be internal or external (caused by other people).
The structure of the Mind
The conscious mind is what we are aware of, and the pre-conscious is what we can become aware of if we switch our attention.
Make short notes from page 166 (new booklet) & pg 243 text booklet.
Psychosexual stages of development
Freud believed that children were not asexual until puberty. He believed infantile sexuality shows up at different stages of development, with the focus at each stage on a different part of the body.
Freud claimed that all children pass through 5 stages of development:

Mental disorders arise from unresolved, unconscious conflicts originating in childhood
Resolution occurs through accessing and coming to terms with repressed ideas and conflicts
Freud mainly used the case study method, interviews and observations to investigate behaviour.
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