How did you do on recalling past terminology?
It is important you understand these terms from the past as we
will apply them now to new information on Freud's "Psychodynamic Perspective."
The Psychodynamic Perspective
Some background information to reacquaint you with Sigmund Freud.
This perspective focuses on interaction of forces deep in the mind.
There are three basic principles to remember.
1. Psychic determinism refers to belief that
behavior is determined by intrapsychic forces.
2. True motives of behavior are unconscious.
3. Forces are deeply affected by childhood
Sigmund was a neurologist in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century.
As a medical doctor he could find no physical cause for many of his patients' complaints.
He developed "psychoanalysis" and we shall now look at the basic concepts of
The Depth Hypothesis
This is the idea that nearly all mental
activity occurs unconsciously. The conscious consists of
what a person is aware of at any given moment, while the unconscious
consists of materials that the mind is not attending to.
Freud believed that disturbing material is
forced out on consciousness by a process called repression. This disturbing material may
erupt later into consciousness and it plays a role in our behavior.
When you review the defense mechanisms, note
that repression is fundamental and that it is the basis of all the other defense
mechanisms. (Page 96) I am not sure this was stressed that much in general psychology but
your text emphasizes now. An interesting fact is Freud developed his technique of
psychoanalysis in order to dredge up this repressed material---"to make the
unconscious conscious," as he stated. He did this through the use of free association
and dream interpretation.
The Necessity of
According to Freud, revealing hidden intrapsychic motives requires
interpretation on the part of the therapist as well as the individual. There are two
layers of meaning in behavior: manifest content and latent content.
You may have done some "dream interpretation" in general
psychology class. What you recalled of the previous night's dream is called the manifest
content. Manifest content is the surface meaning. Latent content refers to true,
unconscious meaning. The latent content is not all that easy to label and/or recognize.
With psychoanalysis there is also need for the necessity of
The Structural Hypothesis: Id, Ego &
Briefly: The Id refers to primitive biological drives.
Freud believed our sexual and aggression drives were man's strongest drives.
How many of
you remember what libido is?
Click here to see my answer!
Does the Id operate on the reality principle or the pleasure principle?
Click here to see my answer!
The Ego mediates between the id and forces that restrict id's
satisfaction. The ego operates on the reality principle and tries to keep a balance
between the Id and the Superego. It is important that sometimes the id wins out and at
other times the superego wins out when they are in conflict.
The Superego, as you recall represents moral standards set by society and
by your parents. We refer to the superego as "your conscience."
The Dynamics of the Mind
When our ego is overwhelmed by demands of id and superego, anxiety is
experienced. Freud states, "anxiety signals ego that danger is at hand and this can
be managed in several ways." The defense mechanisms is one way in which we may handle
The defense mechanisms, do distort or deny reality and according to
Freud are adaptive and helpful to the individual. (Helpful up to a point)
You are responsible for knowing the defense mechanisms and how they
differ: repression, projection, displacement, rationalization, isolation,
intellectualization, denial, reaction-formation, regression, undoing and sublimation. I do
not believe you were introduced to isolation, intellectualization or undoing last
The Stages of Psychosexual
The psychosexual development refers to a series of stages in
which the child is motivated to gratify sexual and aggressive drives in different body
areas. Freud believed that the way the id strivings were handled in these various stages
had consequences for the adult personality.
What happens in childhood affects the adult personality. Was each stage
of development met with more satisfaction or frustration?
Do you remember the word that represented more frustration for the child than pleasure. I
will give you a hint: it begins with f.
When a person experienced more frustration at a particular stage Freud said, "we
would see evidence of this in the adult."
Click here to see
The stages are as follows: oral, anal, phallic, latency &
genital stage. You will be responsible for knowing all stages and what are the key terms
related to each stage.
Normal and Abnormal Behavior
Freud believed that normal personality functioning was motivated by
irrational id and that abnormal personality was motivated by irrational drives and
Neuroses and Psychosis...The following statement might help put these into perspective:
The neurotic builds castles in the sky.
The psychotic lives in the castle.
And the psychiatrist collects the rent.
Abnormality is a difference in degree, not in kind.
He believed dreams, fantasies, works of art, psychiatric symptoms, hallucinations
--- these are simply different stops on the same road.
What is the difference between neuroses and psychosis
(normal and abnormal)? The difference being ego strength. In neuroses the ego is trying to
cope with life situations, the ego is weakened by conflict, but normally it bounces back.
In extreme cases, the ego's strength may be severely depleted,
curtailing adaptive functioning.
The person's defenses break down, flooding the psyche with id impulses and anxiety.
Sometimes the person's emotions are not connected to life events, speech may lose its
coherence, inner voices may be mistaken for outer voices, etc. This ego collapse is known
Freud's disciples ...
The revisions of Freudian theory involve three trends:
- Less emphasis on sex and more on ego.
- The child's social relationships as central determinant of behavior.
- An extended period of critical developmental influences.
Some of the people I will list, you are familiar with and others
will be unfamiliar to you. These people are referred to as disciples of Freud, descendants of Freud, as well as
Take some time to look them up on the Internet and acquaint yourself with
their theories! Independent "internet work" for you!
The Psychodynamic Approach to Therapy
*** Though psychoanalysis as practiced by Freud is rarely used
today, it is the grandfather of all psychodynamic therapies.
Freud believed the source of "neurosis" was anxiety
experienced by the ego, when unconscious material threatened to break through into the
conscious mind. He believed you could coax this unconscious material out into
consciousness, so that the patient could at last confront it. Once the material is
"worked through"--- it would lose its power to terrorize the ego of the
The analyst interprets the client's remarks. This dialogue between the
client and therapist turns on four basic techniques: free association, dream
interpretation, analysis of resistance and analysis of transference.
You are already familiar with free association and dream
interpretation. The "analysis of resistance"
is when the client may show resistance to avoid painful material and the analyst
interprets this resistance. Freud described "transference" as
the transfer of emotion from important people in the client's life to the analyst.
Modern Psychodynamic Therapy
*** A modified form of psychoanalysis is practiced
1. The therapist takes a more active part in the therapy session.
2. The therapist pays more attention to the client's present life (his or her personal
3. Treatment is briefer and less intensive.
Evaluating the Psychodynamic Perspective
I am going to pull out some key statements from the book
on the following topics!
Psychodynamic Theory Versus the Medical Model / Criticisms of Psychodynamic Theory /
The Contributions of Psychodynamic Theory
Psychodynamic Theory Versus the Medical Model
Freud went to great pains to differentiate his theory from the medical view. He claimed
that a medical education was of no use to the psychoanalyst---"The analyst's
experience lies in another world from that of pathology, with other phenomena and other
laws." Freud urged the training of lay analysts.
The psychodynamic perspective was the first of the purely psychological
approaches to abnormal behavior. It regarded abnormal behavior not as a moral, religious
or organic problem but as a problem in the history of the individual's emotional
Criticisms of Psychodynamic Theory
Lack of Experimental Support
Some of Freud's most basic claims have been subjected to research
and validated. Areas that have been validated: that dreams do allow people to vent
emotional tension; that children do go through a period of erotic interest in the parent
of the opposite sex, accompanied by hostile feelings toward the same-sex parent;
that people do transfer feelings about those close to them in the past onto new people;
and that bringing implicit perceptions and memories into conscious awareness does lead to
more adaptive behavior.
In other cases, the evidence contradicts Freudian theory.
Unrepresentative Sampling and Cultural Bias
It is true that his theory is based on the study of a very
limited sample of humanity. His patients were upper-middle-class Viennese women between
the ages of 20 and 44 years of age.
There is also the issue of his cultural biases. He lived in a society
in which social-class distinctions were rigidly observed, in which the family was
dominated by the father and in which women's opportunities were strictly limited.
This term means: the theory that every complex phenomenon,
esp. in biology and psychology, can be explained by analyzing the simplest, most basic
physical mechanisms that are in operation during the phenomenon.
It has been argued that psychodynamic theory has handed down to the
20th century an exceedingly dismal vision of human life --- a reductive vision --- in
which the human being is driven by animal instincts beyond his or her conscious control,
in which adults are virtually helpless to change themselves after the die is cast in early
childhood, and in which all that most people can know of their own minds is the surface,
while their true causes of behavior remained sealed up in the dark chambers of the
Many of the above positions have been modified by later psychodynamic
theorists. The later theorists point out the adaptive value of self-knowledge.
The Contributions of Psychodynamic Theory
1. Probably the greatest
contribution was that it helped to demythologize mental disorder.
2. Freud showed the mentally disturbed have no monopoly on
This aspect of
psychodynamic theory helped to establish the concept of mental health as a continuum
ranging from adaptive to maladaptive rather than as a dichotomy of "sick" and
3. Freud contributed the technique of psychoanalysis, which contributed
to the wide variety of psychodynamic therapies of today. The now-traditional technique of
a one-to-one patient- therapist relationship aimed at increasing the patient's
self-knowledge ( a technique that underlies almost all forms of psychotherapy) was
essentially a Freudian invention.
No one can deny Freud's impact on the contemporary
conceptualization, assessment and treatment of abnormal behavior. He radically altered the
Western conception of the human mind.