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Psychodynamic approach

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Approaches question Psychodynamic approach Henry is a man who often finds it difficult to distinguish between reality and fantasy. For example, he believes that he is better than anyone else at the job he does, and that rapid promotion will inevitably follow when other people realise it too. However, few of his colleagues believe this and they feel that Henry is not really facing up to the realities of his everyday life. How might this be explained? (a) Describe how two approaches might try to explain Henry's difficulty in distinguishing reality from fantasy. (6 marks + 6 marks) The psychodynamic approach states that unconscious urges are revealed in symbolic form. Thus, the unconscious mind 'leaks' into consciousness by means of irrational behaviour, in Henry's case he unconsciously desires a promotion, but because he consciously knows he may not get one, or others work at a higher standard and may be receiving one before himself he behaves irrationally. The irrational behaviour comes in the form of his illogical confident thoughts that everyone isn't as good as him at his job and he thinks that it is due to other people's foolishness that he has not yet been promoted, therefore, not placing any of the blame upon himself. Another explanation offered by the psychodynamic approach comes from Freud's ideas on the structure of the personality, which is made through the development of the id, ego and super ego. ...read more.


Henry's irrational behaviour as the phallic stage is thought to be the stage in a child's development where fantasies are normally developed. Therefore, if during this stage in Henry's sexual development he was unable to fulfil this experience (which occurs around the age of three) then he could be observed as someone who is 'stuck' in that part of his development and so he is unable to react 'normally'. (b) Assess one of these explanations of Henry's difficulty in distinguishing reality from fantasy in terms of its strengths and limitations. (6 marks) Freud changed the Western view of human nature; in particular it led to the recognition of the importance of early childhood experience on later behaviour. In terms of Henry's behaviour the psychodynamic approach could explain that he may have had a failure to maintain or even get a close bond with a role model and so this may have caused him not to have a properly developed personality. Therefore, causing him to react differently to others in terms of getting things they desire. However, this approach was developed in the interest of mental disorder and psychological forms of treatment, but Henry's behaviour could just show ignorance and that isn't a mental disorder, just a personality flaw. Also, even if early childhood experiences play an unconscious role in the development of Henry's flawed personality Freud's model doesn't give any explanation about the effects of current problem on his behaviour, he may just really need the promotion to deal with money problems for example, and ...read more.


For example, if Henry is 'trapped' in this stage of psychosexual development then his irrational confidence and fantasy of obtaining a promotion when others see that this is probably not going to go ahead, then his behaviour is due to a personality temperament that comes from being 'trapped' in the phallic stage. (d) Evaluate the use of this method of investigating Henry's difficulty in distinguishing reality from fantasy. (6 marks) This theory is very deterministic; it sees childhood behaviour as dependant on innate forces, and adult behaviour dependant of early childhood experience and its effect on the unconscious mind. This allows little, if any, room for free will. In terms of Henry the psychodynamic theory would suggest that none of his behaviour reflects a current social factor, just his unconscious mind influencing his fantasy driven life, whether that be in the terms of being 'stuck' in the phallic stage or having an underdeveloped ego and super ego leaving his unconscious uncontrolled id to run riot. However, this may be a little to simplistic and unable to account for many other things throughout life which shape and build personality. Henry's fantasy thought processes may be driven by an adult experience not just early childhood experience, i.e. if an adult has a scary experience with a spider like it crawling upon their bed they may develop an irrational fear of spiders even when no such event was experienced in childhood and so this fear can't be linked to any childhood experience, and so this theory fails to offer an explanation. ?? ?? ?? ?? A2 Psychology Joanne Murch Psychodynamic approach ...read more.

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