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

Psychodynamic perspective, led by Sigmund Freud, emerged in first half of 20th century.

Extracts from this document...


Psychodynamic perspective, led by Sigmund Freud, emerged in first half of 20th century. It is a wide group of theories that emphasize the power of mind by focusing on the influence of instinctual drives and the importance of developmental experiences in shaping human behavior and personality. The disciples of Freud, neo-Freudians, Ego Analysts, and Object Relation theorists, used Freud's theories and led to new directions. However, just like Freud, his disciples emphasized importance of childhood experiences that reflect our present thoughts and feelings. Among his followers, Alfred Adler particularly focused on importance of childhood experiences as Adler's theories are based on the assumption that people's present self are the produce of the past. Both Freud and Adler shared many similarities in their theories as Adler advocated theories of Freud, founding father of psychodynamic perspective, to develop his own theories. Freud viewed that much behavior are controlled by processed outside people's awareness which are structured by previous memories. He proposed a model consisting of three major parts, of the forces that make up our personality. According to his theory of personality, our personality is a product of a constant battle between Id, pleasure principle, and Superego, moral principle, which produces Ego, reality principle, to balance Id and Superego. Id, primitive principle present at birth, is life instincts, which according to Freud are Eros and Thanatos. ...read more.


Adler viewed that our behavior is the result of feelings of inferiority during the childhood. As a child, one will feel inferior to the adults or to other children when one is physically or mentally inferior, challenged, to others. He viewed that one would drive him or herself for better position than how one fell about self, causing drive for compensation. In other words, the life is a conscious struggle to move from "felt minus" to "felt plus" as one feel the urge to rise above own inferiority and to become "superior" to what one were in the past. When one does not resolve his feelings of inferiority, one will have superiority complex, exaggerating oneself. When one fails to resolve the feelings evoked by childhood experiences of helplessness, one would develop superiority complex, a response to feelings of inferiority complex, which one would attempts to mask weakness by adopting an attitude of exaggerated self-importance. Thus, his theory of what we are today clearly emphasize the importance of early childhood experiences as one will drive oneself to be better than what one used to be at past. Adler also emphasized the importance of birth order. He theorized that first born child in a family would have different upbringing compare to second, last, or only child in a family. ...read more.


As they used their own experiences to explain the present behaviors, both suffer modern criticism over validity of their theories. Freud, especially, had biased assumption over gender as he theorized that all girls would envy penis, male organ, which proved to be wrong. Also both had cultural bias in their theory as they used their own case to explain their theories. As both are raised in European family and Victorian society, their theories thus raise question whether their theory can be applied generally or not. Although psychodynamic theories are used frequently, they lack in several ways as they try to seek conclusion from qualitative study rather than from scientific studies. Both theories are reduction from childhood experiences, which ignore the importance of other factors. Also, both theories cannot be confirmed or disconfirmed, as they cannot be measured scientifically. Their theories are based on case studies which are biased and have no control over the situation and too small samples to validate them. However, despite these limitations, Freud and Adler's psychodynamic theories are widely claimed and play an important role in present psychology as they seek "big picture" of mind, which therefore emphasize the self-knowledge. It is true that both theorists are criticized by modern psychology and they may not explain all of our present personalities as it has limitations. However, Freud and Adler's theories clearly show the influence of childhood experience on human behavior and that our behavior and personality is the product of our past. ...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

    Freud's theory of psycho-sexual development

    5 star(s)

    woman is "a human being in quest of values in a world of values, a world of which it is indispensable to know the economic and social structure"20. A reading of De Beauvoir's work brings into question the nature of the relations between men and women, "mainly, the problem of

  2. Peer reviewed

    The Psychodynamic Perspective.

    5 star(s)

    Some of these are Regression - where we 'go back' to an earlier stage or situation that gives comfort. Denial - where we refuse to accept the 'truth'. Repression - where we push unpleasant ideas into the unconscious and Reaction Formation - where an individual acts in a way contrary to unacceptable feelings they are experiencing.

  1. Highlight the key features/tenets of Freud's and Murray's theories of personality. Identify key similarities ...

    Murray's theory cover two types of needs felt by people: biological and psychological. They also considered something called the environmental press, or the outside influences that affect people.

  2. Different Theories and theorists in Human behaviour

    Skinner made a big change to his theory, and change from testing on rats and directly testing his theories to humans. Even though rats and humans are entirely different species, skinner still believed that what was true for rats was the same for humans.

  1. Explore the work of Sigmund Freud

    Immediately she was stuck with guilt and self-reproach. She covered this internal conflict with a nervous cough, and from that day on, coughed reflexively at the sound of rhythmic music. However, Freud soon abandoned hypnosis in favour of conscious psychoanalysis.

  2. Uncovering the Defense Mechanisms in the Maya Epigraphy

    the epigraphy, as this paper would have to be much expanded which is beyond the material available and time constraints. Hypothesis for this Paper: Due to the underlying basis of religiosity, focus on resources for survival, and the struggle for power, the Maya symbolism in their epigraphy show predominating elements

  1. freud personality

    When the ego is in a state of dilemma i.e. unable to strike a balance between the three forces mentioned it causes anxiety. Freud has divided anxiety into three broad categories: objective, neurotic and moral anxiety. Objective anxiety is caused when a realistic external threat is present e.g.

  2. How do we define Helping Behavior?

    It is shown that respondents are slightly more helpful in the Test setting when compared to the Control one. However, it is just a slight difference; the error term may already outweigh the difference, so it is not significant

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