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Psychodynamics - On unconscious

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Assess the role of the unconscious and conscious mind on human behavior in relation to two psychodynamic theories Psychodynamics, as its name implies, is concerned with the dynamics of the mind. For the most part, psychodynamic approach attempts to understand how human personality is shaped by past experience and workings of the mind. Mind is understood in terms of conscious and unconscious levels. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are psychodynamic psychologists who developed theories on the basis of such a portrait of mind. Freud's psychoanalytic theory emphasizes the importance of innate drives, which shape personality mostly in childhood, through gratification focused on different areas of the body. According to the focus of gratification corresponding to certain age, the development is divided into stages. To deal with innate drives and impulses, personality operates on three main systems (id, ego, and superego), which are one by one set to work. Id is the most primitive part, operating on the pleasure principle. It seeks immediate gratification of the innate drives. ...read more.


Another psychodynamic psychologist who adopted the concept of conscious and unconscious mind was Carl Jung. Unlike Freud, he considered development to be a smooth life-long process. The development of personality depends for the most part on individuation, which is a process of expanding conscious awareness by the ego making contact with the unconscious portions of the self. Its goal and motivation was to approach the unconscious, specifically, the collective unconscious. According to Jung, the collective unconscious is a record of human experience in the mind similarly to evolutionary history in the body. It is represented by the archetypes, the unconscious images, myths, and symbols that provide individuals with wisdom about perceiving and comprehending the world, which are universal across cultures. The image of the totality of self cannot be represented by the same metaphor as in Freud. The conscious and unconscious are distinct parts rather than the layers of an iceberg. ...read more.


It is the rational part of personality (Freud), or similarly, the sense of identity (Jung). The Freud's id is the unconscious part, seen as the most primitive and animalistic, whilst in Jung, an analogy to id can be the shadow. Moreover, an analogy can be found between the superego and the collective unconscious for they are both representing human symbols, values, and norms. In therapy, both theories conclude that the unconscious contents should be brought to awareness. The difference is in the perception of the unconscious. While Freud views unconscious in negative light, Jung holds a positive view. For Freud, the unconscious are emotionally painful memories, unfulfilled wishes and desires, which should be made conscious to alleviate the source of neurosis. In Jung's theory, the unconscious contents that should be made available are archetypes, which help to balance individual's personality. Despite these divergences, the role of unconscious processes is dominating in human behavior for both Freud and Jung, even though for Freud the unconscious contents are seen as sources of mental illnesses (negative view) while for Jung the unconscious contents are sources of growth (positive view). ...read more.

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