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Outline and Evaluate the Psychodynamic Approach to Psychopathology

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Outline and Evaluate the Psychodynamic Approach to Psychopathology Freud's approach to psychopathology suggests that our behaviour and feelings are powerfully affected by unconscious motives, and rooted in our childhood experiences. Our psyche (mind) is made up of 3 sections. According to the approach, the uncoordinated instinctual trends are the id, which is unconscious. The organised and realistic part of the psyche is the superego which is preconscious, and lastly the ego is the section that tries to resolve conflict between the id and the superego which is in your conscious. Another aspect of the model is that everyone goes through the psychosexual stages of development, which are called the Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latency and Genital stages. ...read more.


For girls there is the Elektra complex, where Freud was more vague. The girls also desire their parent of the opposite sex however they are more envious of them and wish to have a penis. However the girl has a fear she will lose her mother's love, and therefore also gives up. The Latency stage happens during puberty (5-12 years) where sexuality lies dominant and children learn the social rules for male and female behaviour. And finally the Genital stage which is 12 years +. This is the beginning of mature adult sexuality where sexual energy is directed towards the genitals. The model suggests that we all use defence mechanisms which could be repression, denial, projection or displacement. ...read more.


Another main issue is that the theory is very sexist. The idea is very controversial because of this as Freud suggests women have 'penis envy.' Most of Freud's case studies were female, which is another limitation as he simply put everything into male terms. The Psychodynamic approach has no scientific evidence; it relies on retrospective information from childhood so accuracy is incredibly questionable. However it is argued that even though there is no scientific evidence, the theory could still be true as we simply can't find a way to test it. Freud knew what he was looking for when talking to case studies, which was in fact stated by some of his patients. They agreed with what he said even if they didn't believe him as he seemed so convinced by them. ?? ?? ?? ?? Louise Busby ...read more.

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Response to the question

This is a sound essay comprising of two paragraphs, though I would argue that perhaps the second paragraph suits itself to the requirements of an essay introduction better than the first paragraph (that said, there is no clear introduction or ...

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Response to the question

This is a sound essay comprising of two paragraphs, though I would argue that perhaps the second paragraph suits itself to the requirements of an essay introduction better than the first paragraph (that said, there is no clear introduction or conclusion here, so the candidate cannot expect to achieve top marks regardless of the depth of their answer due to not showing an ability to coherently structure an effective essay).

As for the detail, there is a good level of it, though very little effort is made to directly answer the question. The question focuses no how the psychodynamic approach explains psychopathology, but the candidate does very little to explicitly focus on psychopathology and instead talks at length about the beliefs and the assumptions of the perspective, so they are not really answering the question. As a result, the candidate cannot really achieve a very high grade for A Level - figure around a E/D grade, as some of the information presented here does cross-over to what one would expect to find in an essay more suited to psychopathology. Candidates are again reminded or the huge importance to read the question and make sure they are consistently referring to what it asks.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis (AO2; critical evaluation) is not marked here, but Level of Description is (AO1; knowledge and understanding) is, so this shall be marked here.

The candidate demonstrates a very good knowledge of Freud's theory by discussing many ideas about the development of the adult psyche, which parts of our minds are developed at which ages, and the psychosexual stages we all go through, as well as both the Oedipus and Elektra complex. All this would've been plenty and surplus to the required building blocks for the continuation of the essay into an explanation of the perspective's beliefs about psychopathology, but as there is no explanation about what the question explicitly asks the candidates to focus on, they cannot score more than half marks.

Quality of writing

The quality of Written Communication is good. There is no cause for concerns from an English perspective as the use of spelling, punctuation and grammar are all accurate. From a Psychology perspective, as well, the candidate succeeds here, as important key words and terminology is applied appropriately with confidence and ease.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 07/08/2012

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