14. Ego Psychology (for comps only includes A. Freud and Mahler w/ brief Erikson review)*** Flashcards Preview

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List the main important texts for ego psychology that you will be using for comps.

For Comps:
The Ego and Mechanisms of Defense (A. Freud, 1936)
Childhood and Society (Erikson, 1950)
The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant: Symbiosis and Individuation (Mahler, 1975)

Ego Psychology and the Problem of Adaptation (Hartmann, 1939)
Hospitalism - An Inquiry Into the Genesis of Psychiatric Conditions in Early Childhood (Spitz, 1945)
The Self and the Object World (Jacobson, 1964)
The First Year of Life (Spitz, 1965)
Mothers Have to Be There to Be Left (Furman, 1982)


In "The Ego and Mechanisms of Defense" (Anna Freud, 1936), A. Freud changes the emphasis from what to what?

It moved from id strivings to ego functioning. The ego became important in its own right.

A. Freud discusses the importance of interpreting defense mechanisms rather than unconscious id impulses. In addition, Anna also focuses on defense mechanisms in children and adolescents.


What did A. Freud (1936) view pathology as arising from?

Aberrant ego development results in primitive and rigid use of defenses, harsh superego, and poor ego functioning.


What is turning against the self? Cite.

Anger or hatred towards others may cause the person to feel guilt. The person deals with this guilt by turning their feelings towards the other person inwards towards themselves. If the bad is in the outside world, the child has no hope of ever gaining control over it, but if the bad is within the child, then it is safer.

(A. Freud, 1936)


According to A. Freud (1936), what to ego functions include?

▪ impulse control
▪ judgment
▪ affect regulation
▪ reality testing
▪ defenses


What did A. Freud believe about insight?

A. Freud believed insight was curative, however, her focus was on the ego and its defenses. Interpretations are directed at uncovering ego defenses and superego functioning.

The patient then discovers an observing ego which aligns with the therapist. This allows them the opportunity to become an active, changing agent in their own life. This positively transforms their maladaptive behavior patterns.


Erikson (1950) created _________, which outlined different __________.

stage theory; psychosocial stages of development


What does stage theory follow (Erikson, 1950)?

The epigenetic principle.


What similarities are there between Erikson's (1950) stage theory, and Freud's psychosexual stages?

▪You must successfully develop one stage to move on to the next.
▪Stages unfold in a predetermined order, building on the next one and preparing the stage for the next.


What differences are there between Erikson's (1950) stage theory, and Freud's psychosexual stages?

▪Erikson believed that through psychoanalysis a person could resolve earlier conflicts later in life.
▪He not only expanded Freud’s theory to later stages of life, but he also broadened it considerably, by emphasizing cultural differences and by stressing the development of the ego through identity challenges that were more psychosocial than strictly biological.
▪Erikson’s theory expanded Freud’s understanding of erogenous zones (e.g., Basic Trust vs. Mistrust includes oral AND respiratory, sensory, and kinesthetic functions).


List Erikson's psychosocial stages and their corresponding ages (1950/1985).

First Stage (0-12/18 months): Basic Trust vs. Basic Mistrust
Second Stage (18 months-3 years): Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
Third Stage (3-6 years): Initiative vs. Guilt
Fourth Stage (6-12 years): Industry vs. Inferiority
Fifth Stage (12-18 years): Identity vs. Role Confusion
Sixth Stage (19-40 years): Intimacy vs. Isolation
Seventh Stage (40-65 years): Generativity vs. Stagnation
Eighth Stage (65+ years): Integrity vs. Despair


In which stage and what ages does Basic Trust vs. Basic Mistrust occur? Summarize and provide a citation.

It is the first stage, occurring from birth to 12-18 months.

▪ The child’s sense of trust grows along with the development of the ego: it senses that its needs will be met in an orderly fashion while also learning the importance of delay of gratification. An important example of ego development and trust building is when the child learns to accept its mother’s absence without undo anxiety
▪ The child must not only learn to trust in its mother but also to trust in itself. This comes with learning of self-regulation, as when the child acclimatizes to teething and learns to suckle at the breast more gently.
▪ Erikson believed that the mother or mother figure plays an important part in the child’s development of trust, not only by meeting the child’s basic comfort and nurturance needs, but by having confidence in herself.
▪ He believed that an anxious mother transmitted this anxiety to the child, which he saw as unhealthy: a mother’s tension causes a corresponding state of tension in her baby, resulting in a feeling of insecurity and lack of trust.
(Erikson, 1950)


In which stage and what ages does Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt occur? Summarize and provide a citation.

It is the second stage, occurring from about 18 months until 3 years old.

▪ The parents must be patient with the child, but not to the point of sainthood. Parents must establish – and children desperately need – rules or standards of proper behavior.
▪ The child must learn the meaning of the word “no.” But often the willful child learns this only too well – she frequently defies parental requests using this same word.
▪ Erikson stresses the learning of “law and order.” But parents who over control their children risk increased shame and lack of a sense of autonomy: such over controlling behavior can break the child’s will and (Erikson believed) lead to the kinds of “anal” neuroses (extreme compulsiveness or messiness) described by Freud.
▪ In recapping, Erikson expanded Freud’s ideas about the so-called anal stage in several ways. First, he expanded the notion of the child’s need for control or autonomy beyond just toilet training, to a number of physical challenges such as walking, learning to do things for him or herself, and so forth. Second, he emphasized the role of the development of the ego here as in other stages, as opposed to Freud’s developmental psychology anchored in id impulses. And third, rather than see the challenges of childhood from the limited standpoint of a given culture, he noted that these challenges and the way they are handled by parents and society differ across cultural settings.
(Erikson, 1950)


In which stage and what ages does Initiative vs. Shame and Guilt occur? Summarize and provide a citation.

In the third stage, and from ages 3 to 6 (Erikson, 1950).

▪ Acknowledges oedipal factors in development
▪ the child identifies with the parent, and by doing so learns to adopt and internalize the role of the same-sex parent through observation and imitation.
▪ Initiative is implied in these attempts at imitation
▪ guilt occurs when the child’s developing conscience feels in competition with the parent (i.e., oedipal feelings).
▪ The parents are viewed by the child as big, powerful, and threatening – and the truth in these perceptions is evident even if one discounts the Freudian notions of castration anxieties or penis envy.
▪ Initiative is actualized through the child’s expanding repertoire of capabilities.
▪ The child’s conscience can put a damper on the normative very active development during this period if parents instill guilt feelings by insisting too strongly on “good” behavior.


In which stage and what ages does Industry vs. Inferiority occur? Summarize and provide a citation.

It is the fourth stage, occurring from ages 6 to 12 (Erikson, 1950).

▪ This corresponds to Freud's latency period.
▪ The basic strength of this stage is therefore competence.
▪ Erikson used the term inertia (as in inert, or passiveness) to define the core pathology, the antithesis of competence
▪ (Erickson, per Freud) child has sublimated oedipal impulses and “now learns to win recognition by producing things. He has mastered the ambulatory field and the organ modes . . . . He develops industry – i.e., he adjusts himself to the inorganic laws of the tool world . . . . His ego boundaries include his tools and skills: the work principle . . . teaches him the pleasure of work completion by steady attention and persevering diligence” (1950/1985, p. 259).
▪ The child that is ill prepared for school or lacks the tools for learning from life’s experience will despair. Successful resolution of crisis at this stage stems largely from preparation at earlier stages.
▪ For most children, this is a period of relative calm, as it was in Freud’s exposition. Inner conflicts give way to increased learning and mastery of the skills needed to succeed in later life.


In which stage and what ages does Identity vs. Role Confusion occur? Summarize and provide a citation.

It occurs in the fifth stage, and from the ages of 12 to 18.

▪ The basic task of this period is to separate oneself from one’s parents – especially the same-sex parent – and to assume an identity of one’s own.
▪ Oedipal conflicts again return with full force (in agreement with Freud), but the child who is no longer quite a child must now learn to displace the sexual feelings for his or her opposite sex parents onto others. In the later phases, this is done partially through ritual courtship practices traditionally known in our own society as “dating.”

Erikson discusses some coping mechanisms for teens who are confronting their anxiety.
▪Foreclosure: In order to suppress the anxiety that attends lack of identity, some adolescents prematurely assume an identity of convenience; someone else’s value system, such as that of one’s parents, without giving the matter very much thought or consideration.
Example: “My father was a dentist – I know that’s what he
has in mind for me and that is what I shall become.”
▪Moratorium: A “time out” or suspension of the search for oneself while exploring different options.
Example: Erikson himself used this strategy in his youth as
he wandered through Europe before committing himself to
a career.
▪Diffusion: This essentially represents a kind of apathy in which the youth lacks any kind of passion or commitment.
Example: “I don’t really feel committed to anything – I do
what I can to get by in school.”
▪Positive role identity or identity achievement: This is the sense of really knowing who one is and in general, where one is headed in life.
Example: “I know that I value justice – I intend to study law
and do my part to make a better world.”
▪Negative role identity: This refers to the rebellious denial of the expectations of parents or society; the opposite is instead chosen.
Example: The son of a police officer decides to join a gang
of drug users and petty thieves.


In which stage and what ages does Intimacy vs. Isolation occur? Summarize and provide a citation.

It occurs in the sixth stage, from 19 - 40 years old.

▪ Erikson viewed intimacy or closeness and mutual sharing with another as the basic strength of this stage, isolation as its core pathology
▪ Erikson believed that intimacy between two people as a couple was only possible when each had developed a strong sense of identity separately.
▪ The dilemma is that it is difficult (though possible in rare cases) for two people to grow and mature together unless they have first matured separately.
▪ Not surprisingly, divorce is a common outcome for couples who marry while still quite young and immature.
▪ Young adults often still have not advanced in maturity from adolescence. Although some have achieved a level of maturity by the early twenties, many others do not arrive at this level until well into their thirties – and still others never do attain full maturity


In which stage and what ages does Generativity vs. Stagnation occur? Summarize and provide a citation.

It occurs in the seventh stage, from 40-65 years old.

▪Erickson recognized that fulfillment in life can be achieved without necessarily having children (or procreativity). But it does require the ability to care for and about others. The opposing concept to generativity is stagnation, or the loss of self in self-absorption.
▪When Freud and Erikson were writing, sexual intercourse culminating in mutual orgasm in a marital relationship was considered the ideal expression of complete fulfillment between a man and a woman. Since the pioneering work of Masters and Johnson (1966), ideas about sex and love have changed.
▪Erikson’s ideal of generativity thus includes what many see as old-fashioned notions about conventional sex between married adults.
▪But he also went beyond this: generativity in its broadest sense refers to creative and productive activity through work (recall Freud’s purported dictum on the importance of “love and work” from above). Generativity is about much more than sex and procreation. Erikson’s concept embraces a sense of caring for the future; caring for the next generation. Indeed, Erikson included working for a better world as part of his concept.
▪A sense of connectedness of one generation with another is implied in the concept, and generativity is, in the broadest sense, a symbolic link to immortality through acts and works that will survive the individual.
▪Erikson’s concept of generativity implies not simply having children but to giving back or contributing to society and future generations. In the case of philanthropy, giving consists of donating money and time to worthy causes.


In which stage and what ages does Integrity vs. Despair occur? Summarize and provide a citation.

It occurs in the eighth stage, at 65+ years

▪ Integrity in the later years of life implies acceptance of a life that was well-lived. It does not mean that life is over, for these can often be very productive years. But by this age a person begins take a reflective and evaluative look back at his or her life.
▪ Despair, however, implies a lack of further hope. Despair can result from unfulfilled potential or a feeling that one has wasted one’s life, without hope for personal redemption. Despair is often disguised by an outward attitude of contempt toward others. Such contempt, according to Erikson, really reflects contempt for the self, projected outward.
▪ After a lifetime of living and learning, Erikson stated that wisdom is the basic strength associated with later years, based on the well-lived life. Disdain is the core pathology of this stage.


Mahler's work is considered to be what type of ego psychology?

Developmental ego psychology.


What did Mahler (1963) view pathology as arising from?

A lack of resolution during the rapprochement phase of separation-individuation.


How does Mahler view a child's understanding of separation from the mother (1963/1972)?

Children don't initially recognize any form of separateness, but over time begins to deviate from mother, returning to her as an emotional refueling base. During rapprochement, a child realizes that his or her physical mobility makes her separate. They realize they are small, and stranger anxiety may emerge. He/she fears both engulfment and abandoment.

The mother's response is key. S/he needs to feel free to explore, but also s/he has a safe base to return to. Parents need to not be overly involved or totally unavailable.


According to Mahler, what is symbiotic dysfunction (1968)?

A failure to separate and individuate from the primary objects. Key factors in this include heredity, constitutional factors, and the impact of early traumatic experience.


According to Mahler, when is depression most likely to occur (1975)?

If the mother failed to be attuned to the child's needs during the rapprochement subphase of separation individuation.


What are Mahler's (1975) phases of development?

1. Normal Autistic Phase (first few weeks of life) - later
abandoned this
2. Normal Symbiotic Phase (0-6 months)
*what occurs next is separation-individuation*
3. Hatching (6-9 months)
4. Practicing (9-15 months)
5. Rapprochement (15-24 months) - includes beginning, crisis and solution


According to Mahler (1975), what occurs during the normal autistic phase of development?

Occurs during the first few weeks of life.

The infant is detached and self-absorbed. Spends most of his/her time sleeping. **Mahler later abandoned this phase, based on new findings from her infant research.** She believed it to be non-existent. The phase still appears in many books on her theories.


According to Mahler (1975), what occurs during the normal symbiotic phase of development?

Occurs from 0 to ~6 months old.

The child is aware of the mother but there is not a sense of individuation. The infant and mother are one and as one are separate from the outside world.


According to Mahler (1975), what occurs during the hatching phase of development?

Occurs from 6 to 9 months old.

The child starts exploring differences between the mother and him/herself. The child is more alert to the happenings of the outside world and uses mother as a point of orientation. Stranger Anxiety emerges during this phase.


According to Mahler (1975), what occurs during the practicing phase of development?

It occurs from 9 to 15 months old.

The child beings to crawl and then progresses to walk. The child starts exploring farther from the mother while still believing to some degree that the mother is one with him/her. A less traditional view might state that the child identifies a physical separation but not a narcissistic separation where the child believes that the mother lives to please her child. The mother is used primarily as a refueling base.


According to Mahler (1975), what occurs during the rapprochement phase of development?

It occurs from 15 to 24 months old, and consists of three subphases: 1) beginning, 2) crisis, and 3) solution.

In this subphase, the infant once again becomes close to the mother. The child realizes that his physical mobility demonstrates psychic separateness from his mother. The toddler may become tentative, wanting his mother to be in sight so that, through eye contact and action, he can explore his world. The risk is that the mother will misread this need and respond with impatience or unavailability. This can lead to an anxious fear of abandonment in the toddler. A basic ‘mood predisposition’ may be established at this point.

Beginning - Child wants to share his/her discoveries with the mother (i.e., wants mother to explore with him/her).

Crisis - Between staying with the mother, being emotionally close and being more independent and exploring. Child wants to explore on his/her own, but fears losing and/or upsetting mother.

Solution - Through language and superego development, child is able to explore and be with mother from a distance without fearing abandonment.