• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the psychodynamic approach to psychology.

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Psychology essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Critically evaluate the psychoanalytic approach

    4 star(s)

    Everything, both good and bad, seems to stem from the expression or repression of the sex drive. A highly critical account of Freud's work is Jeffrey Masson's The assault on truth. Freud dealt with understanding the unconsciousness - Freud deals with the unconscious mind, which he claims can only be understood through dreams, slips of the tongue, etc.

  2. Outline and evaluate one theory of personality development based on the psychodynamic approach

    Stage 5 the genital stage 12 years and onwards. Erotic focus is again on genitals, but child seeks gratification from peers of the opposite sex both excessive gratification and extreme frustration can result in an individual getting emotionally stuck at a particular stage.

  1. Memory. In this investigation, my aim is to see whether shallow processing or deeper ...

    X 5 I I I I I X I I I I I I I I I V 6 I I I I I I I I I - I I I I I I I I I - 7 I I I I I I I I - I

  2. Personality Psychology

    Developmental patterns, then, are personal, reflecting a particular set of environmental stimuli, and development is the result of continuing exposure to specific factors in the environment (Feisty & Feisty, 2002). John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner's theories of classical and operant conditioning hold that all behavior is learned as a response to external stimuli.

  1. Linking Freudian and Jungian psychology to elements of cultural studies, conceive a useful model ...

    personal experience and does not consist of complexes but of archetypes, literally pre-existent forms. It is formed throughout history by the repetition of similar experiences in consecutive generations. Jung himself described the thesis as follows: In addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which

  2. Critically evaluate the psychodynamic approach.

    Excessive retention means the child is likely to have been potty trained too early and in adult years will lead to being excessively tidy. The phallic stage emerges at three and lasts until age five. The boy experiences the Oedipus complex; he sexually desires his mother and wants to kill his father out of jealousy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work