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Research and Evaluate the Psychodynamic Approach to Psychopathology

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Research and Evaluate the Psychodynamic Explanation of Abnormality The psychodynamic approach is based on the research and theories of Sigmund Freud. It states that abnormality is the result of psychological conflicts in the subconscious that we are not aware of. He stated that the mind had three components: the Id (the part of the mind that strives to gratify sexual and aggressive drives), the Ego (the rational part concerned with others? opinions, what is socially acceptable, and consequences), and the Superego (the part containing our moral ideas about right and wrong). The conflict between each part of our minds and their desires can cause anxiety. The Ego has two ways of dealing with this anxiety: Repression ? burying unpleasant memories in our unconscious mind so we can?t remember ...read more.


As our ego isn?t developed enough at that age, it cannot deal with trauma. The sufferer may not be actively aware of it having happened, but the memory could have leaked out as an eating disorder. A similar experience in later life could cause a person to re-experience the childhood trauma, causing abnormality as the anxiety is directed towards the self. As Freud believed that there was a strong link between childhood experiences and adult functioning, he devised the theory of five psychosexual stages. These are oral (0-2 years), anal (2-3 years), phallic (5-7 years), genital (teenage years). Frustration will occur if the needs of each stage are not satisfied, and over gratification can prevent progress to the next stage. ...read more.


This is unethical as it can put distress and guilt on a family if they believe they could have prevented the abnormality in childhood. The concepts in the approach are vague and impossible to test. The Id, Ego and Superego cannot be proven. Most of the evidence has come from case studies, which are subjective and unreliable. The psychodynamic approach is deterministic ? it assumes humans have no free will, and all abnormal thoughts and behaviours from our unconscious mind. This leads to moral implications ? it is not seen as a rapist?s fault, as a trauma in childhood could have made them this way. It also lacks historical validity. Freud?s theories were devised in a time and society that was very close-minded towards sex. The approach is sexist, as it states that women have a weaker superego and should be blamed for their child?s internal conflicts. ...read more.

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