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What is the psychodynamic approach?

- views behaviour as being a result of drives and forces within p’s psyche
- most behaviours influenced by unconscious mind


What are the key parts of the psychodynamic approach?

- role of the unconscious
- structure of personality
- defence mechanism
- psychosexual stages


Describe the role of the unconscious

- conscious mind is tip of ice cube (Freud)
- unconscious is hidden under waters and contains biological instincts
- most of our everyday behaviour is a result of unconscious
- distressing info is pushed to Unconscious
- comes out in dreams


Describe the structure of the personality

- Freud: personality made up of 3 parts:
- Id, ego, superego
- each demand gratification but constantly are in conflict with each other


Describe the id

- pleasure principle
- from birth
- unconscious
- demands immediate gratification regardless of circumstance
- gratification of id results in pleasure
- frustration of id leads to tension


Describe the ego

- 2 years
- reality principle
- conscious
- makes compromises between the impulsive demands of id and moralistic demands of superego


Describe the superego

- 4-5 years
- unconscious
- morality principle
- internalised idea of right and wrong
- represents moral standards of their same sex parent
- produces feelings of guilt for wrong doing
- includes ego ideal (guide of how we should behave based on parental standards)


Describe a defence mechanism

- used to reduce anxiety
- to neutralise threatening material that could damage ego
- unconscious
- prevent ego being overwhelmed by temporary threats or trauma


What are the 3 defence mechanism?

- repression
- denial
- displacement


Describe the defence mechanism repression

- pushing material out of conscious mind to unconscious
- e.g forgetting a traumatic experience such as child abuse


Describe the defence mechanism denial

- unpleasant or worrying info is ignored
- e.g failing to believe your loved one has died


Describe the defence mechanism displacement

- feelings directed onto a less threatening target
- e.g taking work frustrations out on your partner


What is a psychosexual stage?

- child development occurs in 5 stages (first 3 most important)
- each stage has a conflict that must be resolved to move to next stage
- any unresolved conflict leads to being stuck at stage and affects adult behaviour


What are the 3 important psychosexual stages?

- oral stage
- anal stage
- phallic stage


Describe the oral stage

- birth to 18 months
- focus of energy and sexual pleasure is in mouth
- feeding, biting, sucking = pleasure
- weaned too early (breastfeeding) = develop pessimistic and sarcastic person
- weaned too late = too trusting in others and gullible


Describe the anal stage

- 18 months to 3 years
- focus of pleasure and sexual energy in anus
- focuses on faeces and potty training
- not enough restriction during potty training = anally expulsion adult, messy, creative, spontaneous
- forced to use too early = anally retentive, stubborn, overly clean, tidy, mean with money


Describe the phallic stage

- 3 - 5 years
- focus of pleasure and sexual energy is on genitals
- children develop gender identity due to Oedipus/Electra complex
- boys fear castration from father so repress desire for mum and identify with dad
- girls have penis envy and repress desire towards dad and identify with mum
- If fixated at stage = inappropriate learning of gender behaviour, self assured, reckless, vain, proud


What are the strengths of the psychodynamic approach?

- supporting research
- practical applications


What are the limitations of the psychodynamic approach?

- unscientific
- gender bias
- psychic determinism


What is the supporting research for the psychodynamic approach?

- Fisher and Greenberg (1996)
- summarised 2500 studies for psychodynamic approaches
- found support for existence of unconscious motivations for behaviour and defence mechanisms
- supports Freud’s argument


What are the practical applications of the psychodynamic approach?

- psychoanalysis: therapy aims to access unconscious
- uses free association and dream analysis
- Maat (2009): psychoanalysis helped treat depression and anxiety long term
- if psychoanalysis is a long term treatment for mental health it suggests unconscious drive may be cause of behaviour


How is the psychodynamic approach unscientific?

- Freud uses small sample of abnormal p’s
- can’t make such universal claims based on this
- Freud’s claims are highly subjective
- lacks reliability
- unscientific


How is the psychodynamic approach gender bias?

- alpha bias
- suggest women and men develop differently
- unlike SLT: gender roles develop via same process
- suggests women are failed men
- believe they’ve been castrated and have penis envy
- reinforces gender stereotypes


How is the psychodynamic approach a form of psychic determinism?

- suggests no behaviour is accidental
- behaviour is result of unconscious process and drives
- Freud: around 5 all our personality is formed
- suggest minor changes can happen but basic tendencies are fixed in childhood
- takes away free will and personal responsibility
- contradicts that we can change our behaviour suggested by humanistic approach