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Outline the key features of the psychoanalytic and humanistic perspectives, and briefly compare and contrast their views on conscious experience, a person as an integrated whole, and the role of therapists in arriving at changes.

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Question - Option B Outline the key features of the psychoanalytic and humanistic perspectives, and briefly compare and contrast their views on conscious experience, a person as an integrated whole, and the role of therapists in arriving at changes. Answer In explaining and predicting animal behaviour, different schools of psychology are of different perspectives; e.g. cognitive approach focuses on the mental processes, behaviourism is based on external stimuli and reinforcement, biological approach is concerned with the relationship between the mind and body and the influence of heredity. However, they are only cope with a specific part of people, but neglect human as a whole. To supplement such deficient, both psychoanalytic and humanistic psychologies have provided their perspectives on it. Psychoanalytic Perspective Psychoanalytic approach was advocated by Sigmund Freud, a private practitioner who construct his theory through therapy and self-experience. In his theory, there are three major ideas; they are consciousness, psychosexual stages of development and psychodynamics as well. Freud split the consciousness into three levels; they are conscious, preconscious and unconscious respectively. The conscious level contains information of which we are aware, alert and awake at the moment, e.g. you can easily answer the question of "What is your name?". The preconscious level contains the memories and thoughts that are easily remember through a little effort, e.g. ...read more.


Freud opined that human behaviour is determined by the interaction between the aforesaid three aspects, thus conflicts are inevitably formed; and these conflicts would resulted in anxiety. To cope with the anxiety, he has identified nine methods termed as defence mechanism which people used. (Website : Webref) Some examples are i) Denial : the subject completely reject the thought or feeling, ii) Displacement : the subject redirect his feelings to another target, and iii) Suppression : the subject is vaguely aware of the thought or feeling, but try to hide it. (OUHK, 2003) Humanistic Perspective On the other hand, humanistic psychology is of different view on human behaviour as a whole. There are three major ideas. The first idea is about conscious experience which is about how we experience our world, it argued that we are capable to aware of our feelings so that we could actively change the situation. Yet, humanists are also of different perspectives on this conscious. Among the humanists, Abraham Maslow opined that conscious awareness could be emerged in different forms, that is "a specific state of consciousness characterized by a sense of delight, wholeness, meaningfulness and abundant energy". (Miell, Phoenix & Thomas, 2002, p. 197), e.g. reading a book, watching TV. He named this as peak experience. Another humanist Csikszentmihalyi suggested another conscious experience as flow experience which refers to the experience of the whole process of an activity people enjoyed for its own sake (Miell, Phoenix & Thomas, 2002), e.g. ...read more.


There is little room to change it, it towards a pessimistic approach for being a human. In contrast, humanism is rather optimistic, it consider people are kindness in nature, individual are capable to tackle problems by themselves because they are only distorting themselves and they will recover it spontaneously. In psychoanalytic approach, they labeled their subjects as 'patients' whereas humanists named them as 'clients'. Both approaches believe that through therapy, they can tackle their patients/clients' psychic problems. However, psychoanalytic therapist adopted a dominant role as a specialist during the process of therapy, that means their patients should depended on them. Yet, humanist therapists only take the role as a 'facilitator' or 'leader', their role between the facilitator and the clients are equal and fair. They only encourage their clients to express their feelings and believe that they could solve their problems by themselves. Even though the psychoanalytic approach was criticized as unobservable and the humanism is over emphasis the ability of individual, but neglect the external factors, e.g. environmental and cultural influences; they indeed made contributions to help people to tackle their psychic/psychological problems. (1,616 words) Reference The Open University of HK (OUHK) (2003). SS101. Hong Kong : OUHK Miell, D., Phoenix, A., and Thomas, K. (2002). Mapping Psychology 2. Milton Keynes : The Open University Press Davis, S.F. and Palladino, J.J. (1995) Psychology. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice Hall Website : http://www.webref.org ?? ?? ?? ?? DSE212 - TMA04 P. 1 of 6 ...read more.

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