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Psychodynamics - Methodology

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Explain how different research methodologies (e.g. case study, observation, interviews) used in psychodynamic psychology may affect the interpretation of behavior The psychodynamic psychology attempts to understand behavior in terms of the workings of the mind, with an emphasis on motivation and the role of past experience. Accordingly, the focus is on the internal processes that cannot be observed directly. With the strong emphasis on the role of unconscious, the research methods that can reveal inner mental processes should be selected. Deciding upon which methodologies to use to be able to best investigate the mental processes can in turn strengthen or doubt the theory that will emerge form the findings. Freud, as a leading figure of psychodynamic psychology, attempts to explain personality, motivation, and psychological disorders by focusing on unconscious determinant of behavior. According to him, unconscious contains thoughts, memories, and desires that are well bellow the surface of conscious awareness, but that nonetheless exert great influence on behavior. ...read more.


Moreover, the more information he gathered from new and new case studies, he was likely to adjust his theory. Still, if the sample is not representative, the theory can be hardly applied to human behavior in general. In result, Freud's theory may be affected by unjustified generalizing. Within the case studies, Freud used methods such as observations, interviews, free association, dream and content analysis, hypnosis, and he even explored himself. During the interviews, he observed his patients while using a technique of free association. He paid attention to finding the source of the patients´┐Ż problem, which he would then analyze and treat. A method of free association might actually be considered to be a type of an interview, which runs on the one-to-one basis and which is unstructured because the patient is asked to say anything that comes up to his/her mind. Freud used free association to reveal painful memories which might have been repressed. ...read more.


For the same reason, Freud paid attention to the analysis of his patients´┐Ż dreams. Two main objections arise against Freud's observations and analysis. First, he did not record his sessions with patients, and only noted what he remembered hours ago. This is clearly a source of bias because naturally he paid attention to some things more than to others and tended to remember themes he was interested in. In result, the source of neurosis he found was not necessarily the actual cause. This is an objection on subjectivity. Second objection concerns reliability. He was alone in analyzing the data he gathered. Thus, it cannot be sure whether other researchers would agree with his judgments. In result, Freud's theory might be based on wrong judgments resulting from subjective perception and analysis. To conclude, Freud's theory is one that brings so many controversies as contributions. The ideas on which it is based emerged from his research. The methods he used to reveal unconscious processes might have as well been a useful tool but at the same time a source of biases that could have distorted the judgments on which his theory is based. ...read more.

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