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Describe and evaluate any one approach to the study of Human Behaviour. Sigmund Freud's Psychoanalytical approach.

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Introduction

Describe and evaluate any one approach to the study of Human Behaviour. Sigmund Freud's Psychoanalytical approach. Sigmund Freud was a pioneer in the recognition of the unconscious mind, becoming the first Psychoanalyst and his theories are now widely accepted. Psychoanalysts today believe that Psychoanalysis is the most effective method of obtaining knowledge of the mind. It is a method of understanding mental functioning and the stages of growth and development. The Psychoanalytic theory seeks to explain the complex relationship between the body and mind and it's theories can be used to understand the role of emotions in medical illness. The validity of Psychoanalysis as a theory has been questioned since it was conceived in the early 1900's. Questions have been raised as to whether or not it is a science and the value of the data from which the theories involved are based. Psychoanalysis begins with the three forces of the physical apparatus- the id, the ego and the super ego. The id is unconscious, containing everything that is inherited or present at birth and instincts. The ego is conscious, it is responsible for the limitation of satisfactions and represents the influence of others such as parents, teachers, significant others, and other influences such as racial and cultural traditions. ...read more.

Middle

The analysts then form hypotheses about events in the patient's past and what is happening in their present everyday life. The analysts do not relay their conclusions of the observations until a patient has arrived at the same conclusion on their own accord. If the conclusions were revealed too soon resistance occurs, due to repression. Once the conclusion is accepted by the patient they are then cured. Critics claim that psychoanalysis cannot be considered a science due to its lack of predictions. Critics maintain that psychoanalysts state that certain childhood experiences such as molestation or abuse produce certain outcomes or states of neurosis. Using this idea it could be predicted that if children experience abuse, for example, they will become characterised by certain personality traits. This concept would also theoretically work in reverse. For example, if an individual is observed in a particular neurotic state then a certain childhood experience should be able to be predicted. Neither of these predictions can be made with any accuracy. Popper, by far one of the most well known critics of the psychoanalytic approach insists that psychoanalysis cannot be considered a science as it cannot be falsified. ...read more.

Conclusion

The psychoanalytic approach should not be disregarded, it was conceived over a century ago and is still considered as a credible and effective method of treating mental illness and examining human behaviour, therefore we can say that at least significant parts of the theory are accurate. I believe that psychoanalysis can be called a scientific theory due to the fact that it is falsifiable and has, in fact been proven false as certain other methods of treatment have been proven effective. Psychoanalysis is comprehensive, can be applied in practical ways and contains valid arguments. I believe that psychoanalysis is a substantial theory of personality as it is directly responsible for the development of further psychological theories and hypotheses, which otherwise may have been missed. Although widely deputed the defence for psychoanalysis is best summed up by Freud (1949) wrote, himself, in his Outline of Psychoanalysis, "the teachings of psychoanalysis are based on an incalculable number of observations and experiences, and only someone who has repeated those observations on himself and on others is in a position to arrive at a judgment of his own upon it" (pg. 11) Personally I feel that to dismiss the theory completely would be a tremendous oversight, without it, many other valuable psychological techniques and theories would have remained undiscovered. ...read more.

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