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Discuss the psychodynamic approach to psychology.

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Discuss the psychodynamic approach to psychology. The psychodynamic approach focuses upon the role that internal processes and past experience have in shaping a persons personality. The most famous psychodynamic theory is Freud's psychoanalytic theory. Freud believed that the personality was structured in a very specific way, with three defined areas interacting with eachother to form a unique balance of characteristics in every individual. These three areas are 1) The ID. This is also known as the unconscious mind and is described as being an innate set of drives that require immediate gratification. These drives can be either sexual or aggressive. This area of the personality is particularly associated with the 'Pleasure principle'. This principle is namely being to increase pleasure and to avoid pain. 2) The Ego. This develops within the first two years of life and is a consequence of experience. The Ego is the area of the personality works on the basis of the 'Reality principle'. This means that it is the conscious, rational part of the mind. ...read more.


An important part of Freud's theory was the different stages of psychosexual development in the early personality development in a child. In each stage the child's energy or 'libido' is concentrated a particular area of the body. 1) The Oral stage. This occurs from birth to about 18 moths. During this stage the child experiences gratification from eating, breastfeeding and other activities involving the mouth. 2) The Anal stage. This occurs from around 18 to 36 months and involves the child receiving gratification from either withholding or expelling faeces. 3) The Phallic stage. This occurs between 3 and 6 years of age and the genitals are the main focus of libido in this stage. At the age of five the boys develop the Oedipus complex. This involves the child having sexual desires for the mother, therefore seeing the father as a rival and becoming jealous of him. They then begin to fear the father who might realise what is gong on then castrate the boy. ...read more.


1) Repression. This is where a painful or guilt provoking thought is kept out of the conscious mind. 2) Displacement. This is where an emotion from the person who has caused conflict is redirected on to a third party. 3) Projection. Unknowingly displacing ones own unacceptable thoughts on to someone else. 4) Denial. Denying the existence of something threatening or guilt provoking. 5) Intellectualisation. Coping with a threatening thought or event by removing the emotion and therefore trying to rationalise it. 6) Reaction formation. Adopting an attitude diametrically opposed to ones real feeling. Freud's theory was developed mainly in the late 19th century and was based upon a group of abnormal individuals who had come to him for guidance. Because of this fact and the fact that his subjects were nearly all white, middle class, middle aged women, it shows that his subjects only represented a tiny part of the population at the time. The study was not cross culturally valid and ignores other social influences. Despite this however, many key concepts of Freud's theory showed a great insight to human nature and therefore have endured the test of time. ...read more.

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