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. He developed psychoanalysis, a theory and a therapy based on his concern with human mental disorders, such as irrational fears, obsessions, and anxieties. His approach to methodology was qualitative and he used forms of post-modern content analysis. His entire research was based on case studies because by its means he could approach patients individually and research their problems more deeply by combining observation, interviews, and subsequently analysis.
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Case study is not actually a method itself. Rather, it is a collection of methods. In general, case studies are aimed to observe and describe an individual's behavior. They can provide a fruitful insight into unique, exceptional behaviors. In result, the investigator gains richer information by researching to depth. On the other hand, the sample can be limited, which lowers the level of reliability. It was the case of Freud, for he used the limited sample consisting of upper middle class neurotic women. There in, however, lies a problem of generalizability. It is possible to generalize if several ...

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