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Other than Sigmund Freud, name some other psychodynamic psychologists

Anna Freud, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung and Erik Erikson


What are the three basic assumptions of the psychodynamic approach?

1. The unconscious mind is the driving force behind our behaviour

2. Instincts or drives motivate our behaviour, including driving our development through a series of stages

3. Early childhood experiences are pivotal in making us the person we are, with most of our development finishing by six years old


What model can be used to explain the psychodynamic definition of the unconscious mind?

The iceberg model: The tip of the iceberg above the surface is the conscious mind, which is visible, but below the surface is the unconscious mind. There is no clear way of seeing it but it has a far greater influence than the conscious mind


What are the three levels of thought that Freud uses to explain behaviour?

Conscious - the part of the mind we can access
Pre-conscious - thoughts that may surface at any time
Unconscious - Inaccessible thoughts and feelings


What is contained in the unconscious?

The drives and instincts that motivate our behaviour and traumatic and unpleasant memories that have been repressed


What are the three structures of personality in order of when they develop?

Id - Seeks pleasure and is childlike, selfish and hedonistic

Ego - Keeps the balance between the id and superego, keeping individuals mentally healthy by preventing either force becoming dominant

Superego - Acts as an individual's conscience and feels guilt, preventing individuals from behaving certain ways according to a moral code


What are defence mechanisms?

Methods we use unconsciously to reduce anxiety, which weakens the ego, which needs to be strong in order to mediate between the id and superego


How many defence mechanisms did Anna Freud outline?



What are the three most common defence mechanisms?

Repression - Highly emotional and unpleasant thoughts are buried deep in the unconscious mind

Denial - A refusal to accept the reality of a situation, reducing anxiety, but this should not be confused with positive thinking

Displacement - A strong emotion is displaced from its target onto a neutral object or person, causing a strong emotion to be focused on an uninvolved person/object


What are the five psychosexual stages, in order, including divisions and the age of development?

1. Oral (0-18 months) - Passive/aggressive
2. Anal (18 months-3 years) - Expulsive/retentive
3. Phallic (3-6 years) - Oedipus or Electra
4. Latent (6-11 years)
5. Genital (12 years)


What happens if children orally fixated and why might this happen?

If a child is weaned from its mother's milk too early or too late, and if they are fixated during the passive stage as adults these individuals are dependent and clingy and may be smokers, if fixated in the aggressive stage, individuals are aggressive and are likely to chew pencils etc.


What behaviour do anally fixated children display as adults?

Expulsive: Generous and open with emotions
Retentive: Organised, neat and mean with money


What behaviour do phallic-fixated children display as adults?



What behaviour do children fixated on the latent and genitalia stages display as adults?

No fixations occurs in these stages


What is the Oedipus complex?

This is experienced by boys, and they feel intense sexual feelings towards their mothers. At this point, they see their father as a rival for their mother's attention, and the boy feels threatened by him, worrying that the father will cut his penis off if he discovers the boy's love for his mother, making them suffer "castration anxiety", which the boy solves by befriending his father by acting similarly to him (identification)


What is the Electra complex?

At this stage girls realise they do not have a penis, and believe their mother has removed it, making them develop penis envy at the age of three. When this desire is not fulfilled they transfer their desire to wanting a baby. Girls go through a similar process of desire for their father and identification with their mother


Who was Sigmund Freud's case study on, and what did it focus on?

Little Hans; his move through the Oedipus complex, in particular his hostility towards his sister and father and his phobia of horses


How can the psychodynamic approach be criticised?

- Cannot be reliably or scientifically tested

- Most evidence comes from case studies which lack reliability and cannot be generalised

- It could be argued those recovering from psychodynamic therapy are experiencing spontaneous recovery over time


How can the psychodynamic approach be positively evaluated?

- Highlights how important childhood experiences are to later development

- Freud's ideas are used by some therapists today to deal with mental health issues


What are the psychosexual stages in order? How can you remember this?

(Old Age Pensioners Love Gammon)