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What is the psychodynamic approach?

A perspective that describes the different forces (dynamics), most of which are unconscious, that operate on the mind and direct human behaviour and experience


What did Freud say about the role of the unconscious in determining human behaviour?

Conscious mind = tip of the iceberg
Most of mind = unconscious - contains biological drives and instincts that drive behaviour + repressed memories
Preconscious mind is just under conscious mind and can sometimes be seen in dreams or slips of the tongue


What did Freud say about the structure of personality?

It was tripartite - made up of three parts;


What is the id?

Entirely unconscious the Id is made up of selfish aggressive instincts that demand immediate gratification - operates on the pleasure principle, get want it wants
(babies only have an id)


What is the ego?

The 'reality check' that balances the conflicting demands of the id and superego - works on the reality principle - develops around age 2 - uses defence mechanisms to mediate between the id and superego


What are defence mechanisms?

Unconscious strategies that the ego uses to manage the conflict between the id and the superego


What is the superego?

The moralistic part of our personality which represents the ideal self: how we ought to be - forms at the end of the phallic stage around age 5 - is our internalised sense of right and wrong - based on the morality principle


What are Freud's psychosexual stages?

According to Freud, five developmental stages that all children pass through. At most stage there is a specific conflict which's outcome determines future development


What are the 5 psychosexual stages?

1. Oral - 0-1 - mouth is focus of pleasure - desire mothers breast - if unresolved - oral fixations - smoking
2. Anal - 1-3 - anus is focus of pleasure - pleasure from expelling faeces - if unresolved - anal retentive, perfectionist - or - anal expulsive, messy
3. Phallic - 3-5 - genitals are focus of pleasure - Oedipus and Electra complex here - if unresolved - narcissistic, reckless maybe homosexual
4. Latency - earlier conflicts repressed
5. Genital - sexual desires become conscious at puberty occurs - if unresolved - difficulty forming heterosexual relationships


Which stage is the odd one out and why?

The Latency stage bc there is no conflict to be resolved here


What are the evaluation points for the psychodynamic approach?

+ Explanatory Power
- Case Study Method
- Untestable Concepts
+ Practical Applications


Why does the theory have good explanatory power?

While controversial the theory was influential - dominant for 1st half of 20th century - used to explain a wide range of behaviour like; personality development, abnormal behaviour and moral development


Why does the theory have poor case study methodology?

Freud's studies were intense and detailed but of single individuals often in therapy - Little Hans - can't make universal claims from them consequently + Freud's interpretations were highly subjective - not replicable


How does the theory have untestable concepts?

Many of Freud's concepts like the Id, Ego and Superego occur at an unconscious lvl - not testable - can't be falsified - not a proper science according to Popper


What practical applications does the theory have?

The theory later led to a new therapy - psychoanalysis - while this has since been criticised it led to the development of new affective therapies - positive