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Evaluate psychoanalytic theory - Refer to research in your answer.

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Introduction

Evaluate psychoanalytic theory. Refer to research in your answer Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), was a qualified medical doctor who developed a theory of mental life called psychoanalysis. This approach emphasises the psychodynamics of the mind. Freud believes many inner conflicts people may have, stemmed from their childhood. Psychoanalysis therapy is used to help people come to terms with these conflicts. "Freud claimed that the mind was largely unconscious and that the human motives are largely determined by the sex instinct." By using the term 'unconscious', he meant that we have thoughts and ideas that we are not aware of. He came up with the idea of Freudian slips. This is where we say one thing but mean something else. Freud believes these slips of the tongue are not accidents but they have an unconscious repression. Freud also thought that people's dreams are meaningful and could be interpreted. To do this, he used the technique of free association. This is where Freud would say a word e.g. ...read more.

Middle

Freud's idea that there are stages of development in childhood which were a result of sexual instinct is mentioned in the previous answer. A case study of the Oedipal complex was carried out by Freud. It was "the case of little Hans". Hans was the son of a friend of Freud's. His father would write to Freud to let him know of his son's development. He used this for his own theory of infant sexuality. At the age of four Hans developed a phobia of horses (especially white ones). The child believed the horses would bite him or fall on him. At the time the phobia began, his mother was heavily pregnant, and he also had witnessed a horse fall down. Freud interpreted this phobia as the conscious expression of the unconscious feeling Hans had towards his parents (Oedipus complex). The horse represented his father and the fear of the horse falling down was his unconscious wish to see his father dead because of his father's baby his mother was carrying. ...read more.

Conclusion

Grunbawn (1984) believed a scientific theory Freud's concepts were ambiguous and difficult to define and measure objectively. When Sears, Maccoby, and Levin (1957) tested a theory they found very mixed results which leads to an open conclusion. An example of a tested theory of the Oedipal complex was tested by Bronislaw Malinowski (1927). He read Freud's account of how boys dream about their fathers being killed which reveals the Oedipal hostility they have towards their fathers. Malinowski decided to test adolescent boys from the Trobriand Islands, where their uncles are responsible for their discipline instead of their fathers. His results showed that the boys did not have any dreams of their fathers suffering but several with their uncles. This implied that it is discipline not the Oedipal rivalry that creates hostility. Freud may have come back with the answer that Malinowski had tested the boys too late as they had already passed through their developing stages and had overcome their complexes with their fathers. He believed that behaviour is based on emotional responses and the unconscious mind but there is little recognition of conscious processes, learning or biological factors. Other psychologists thought that his theories were too vague and untestable. ...read more.

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