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The Psychodynamic Perspective.

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The Psychodynamic Perspective. One of the key beliefs of the psychodynamic approach is that our adult personality and behaviour are determined by our childhood experiences. Sigmund Freud chiefly initiated this approach. Although Freud continually revised many of his theories, three of them remained constant. These were; firstly, that a vast majority (about 6/7) of the mind is unconscious and contains our instincts, drives and repressed memories. The only ways to discover the contents of the unconscious mind are dream analysis, word association and hypnosis. Secondly, that the mind is made up of three parts, the ID, the EGO and the SUPEREGO. The ID works on the pleasure principle. It contains the psychic energy of all our drives, instincts and repressed memories; it requires immediate satisfaction without any regard for reality. It was referred to by Freud as, 'a cauldron of seething excitations' (cited in Hill 2001, pg 73). ...read more.


Pleasure is gained from sucking and biting things. Too little oral satisfaction i.e, being weaned too early or too late can lead to fixation. This is where a person would be 'stuck' in a particular stage. Fixations are revealed by habits in adulthood. Examples of fixation in the oral stage could be nail biting or smoking. The second stage is the Anal Stage at 2-4 years. The focus of pleasure is now the anus. Pleasure is gained from firstly expelling body waste and then later retaining it. Too little satisfaction i.e, being toilet trained too early or too late would lead to fixation in this stage. Fixation would lead to personality traits such as over-generosity or meanness. The third stage is the Phallic Stage at 4-6 years. Development at this stage is different for boys and girls; Freud called it The Oedipus Complex in boys and The Electra Complex in girls. ...read more.


suggested that in order to prevent gaining the responsibility of adulthood, the said young girls prevent themselves from gaining the weight they unconsciously associate with pregnancy and therefore maturity. The psychodynamic perspective provides humans with a way of finding explanations for our behaviour other than just chemicals and cells. However, this approach can be criticised in many ways. Firstly and arguably most importantly, there is very little scientific evidence to support the theories within the perspective and where there is evidence it is extremely subjective due to the work being interpretation of thoughts and dreams. Secondly, the perspective ignores the impact that certain situations have on our lifestyle and personalities. Finally, Freud's theories were very deterministic and suggested that we have no free will in anything that we do as our adult personalities are determined by our childhood experiences. The idea that we cannot change anything about our personality or behaviour is very disagreeable to many people. The theories and therapies associated with this perspective are still very influential in psychology and people who have had some kind of psychoanalytic therapy do report benefit from them. 6 ...read more.

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This is a piece of coursework based on explaining the highly complex Psychodynamic Perspective of Psychology. The answer is incredibly well-focused and addresses all the necessary factors that contribute to the perspective. The candidate shows a very well-developed, profound knowledge ...

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Response to the question

This is a piece of coursework based on explaining the highly complex Psychodynamic Perspective of Psychology. The answer is incredibly well-focused and addresses all the necessary factors that contribute to the perspective. The candidate shows a very well-developed, profound knowledge of the perspective and retains a consistent focus on the three main theories that make up Freudian psychoanalysis: The Stages of Psychosexual Development, The Three Constituents of the Psyche and Retrospection. The candidate also provides a very well-structured and well-informed analysis, commenting on how the big debates of psychology such as Free Will vs. Determinism play parts in Freud's theories.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis shown he is very good, and each and every evaluation point is nicely backed up with psychological evidence from Freud's case studies (e.g. - Little Hans and the Oedipus Complex) or other, extended works on Freud's theories. The candidate very systematically - and therefore very clearly - elaborates on the contribution of the Id, the Ego and the Superego in determining our thoughts and desires, though it may have been a good idea to comment further on when these constituent parts of the psyche develop and present themselves with age, as this directly ties in with the candidate's next point about the Psychosexual Stages of Development, as determined by the case study of Little Hans. Tying the answer over itself to create a more cohesive answer is a good way of showing the examiner the knowledge you have of the subject you are studying is proficient and you have confidence in expressing said knowledge of it.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication (QWC) is fair, though a misuse of grammar drastically reduces the QWC mark when the candidate discusses the Ego's defence mechanisms. Though an extremely well-informed description, there is a disregard for the standards of grammar in that list items are separated by full stops instead of commas or, in this case, what should be semi-colons as the list items contain many words each. An attention to this detail is required for a high QWC, and QWC is just as important as the analysis because if the clarity of your written expression is at a point where the examiner cannot read your answer fluidly, then you will lose marks for not being able to express yourself using the appropriate and correct English.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 22/03/2012

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