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Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic Theory

Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic Theory

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Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic Theory

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  1. Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic Theory FREUD

  2. Psychoanalysis • Theory of Personality • Method of Therapy • Technique of Investigation • Freud developed his theories based on intensive clinical studies of individual cases – women with hysterical symptoms

  3. Brief History 1856-1939 • 1881 – Practices medicine in neurology and nervous diseases • Basic research in “nerve” cells in simple animals  neurons- bdng. blocks brain • Breuer “talking cure” Anna O. • Under hypnosis connect symptoms to earlier traumas that are repressed • Re-lives the early emotional experience and symptoms disappear - catharsis

  4. Hypnosis vs. Free Association How to make the patient remember the “forgotten” traumatic experience while awake. Freud assumes that all behavior is purposeful, therefore, Patient verbalizations, interpretedby the analyst, will lead to the repressed material

  5. Concept of Humans • Humans are an energy system • Basic source of energy – Instincts • States of excitation in the body that seek expression and tension reduction • Biologically rooted • Behavior is purposeful--determined by instinctual forces • Instincts are governed by the pleasure principle

  6. Instinctual energy exists in a state of tension created by opposing forces • EROSLife InstinctPreservation of self and species • THANATOSDeath instinct Source of aggression and drive to die

  7. Instinct may be satisfied • By external objects – Real or displaced • The object is energized by the instinct • In fantasy • By becoming fused in one action • Eating – aggression and self-preservation

  8. Instinct gratification vs. society’s demands for restraint • Direct Gratification – Possible sometimes • Sublimation – positive and culturally valued activities • Neurosis – maladaptive but more acceptable ways to the person or to society

  9. Levels of Awareness: Unconscious, Pre-conscious, Conscious • Unconscious • A-logical • Disregards time and space • Symbolic language • Many ideas may be condensed in one • Part = Whole • One whole = several objects

  10. Clinical evidence for postulating the unconscious • Dreams • Slips of the tongue • Posthypnotic suggestions • Material derived from free-association • Material derived from projective techniques • Symbolic content of psychotic symptoms • NOTE: consciousness is only a thin slice of the total mind

  11. Implications of the Unconscious • Significant part of our behavior is controlled by forces out of our awareness • Psychic energy is used to • find acceptable ways to express unconscious ideas and wishes or • to keep them repressed

  12. Structure of Personality • Three psychic structures or mental functions that are grouped according to the role they play in the dynamic conflict • ID • EGO • SUPER EGO


  14. ID • Unconscious Biological Component • Base of instinctual life • Source of drive energy – Libido • Guided by pleasure principle, seeks gratification of instinct in action or fantasy • A-social – no regard for social norms • Life and death drives co-exist in dynamic tension

  15. EGO • Conscious Aspect of Self –Reality Principle • Acts in the external world – behaviors • Site of perceptual cognitive skills • Mediates between Id and Super-Ego • Able to separate wish from fantasy • Tolerates tension and is able to compromise • Changes with time

  16. SUPER EGO • Learned Aspect of Self, Ego ideal • Both conscious and unconscious • Moral aspect, guided by ideals • Lacks reality testing • Actions = Thoughts • Black –White judgments – no ability to compromise • Formed by Ego out of the Id

  17. Theory of Psychological Development • Focuses on the development of the instincts, therefore it is rooted in biology • Genetic approach – earlier stages are important determinants of later stages It is a rather abstract aspect of the theory

  18. The Development of Personality • ORAL STAGE First year • Related to later mistrust and rejection issues • ANAL STAGE Ages 1-3 • Related to later personal power issues • PHALLIC STAGE Ages 3-6 • Related to later sexual attitudes Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 4 (1)

  19. The Development of Personality • LATENCY STAGE Ages 6-12 • A time of socialization • GENITAL STAGE Ages 12-60 • Sexual energies are invested in life

  20. Erikson’s Stages of Development • Trust vs. Mistrust First Year Oral • Autonomy vs. Shame and doubt 1-3 • Initiative vs. Guilt 3-6 • Industry vs. Inferiority 6-12 • Identity vs. Role Confusion 12-18 • Intimacy vs. Isolation 18-35 • Generatively vs. Stagnation 35-60 • Integrity vs. Despair 60+

  21. Process of Psychic Life • Investment of energy for: • Object gratification • Repression of drives and desires

  22. Process of Psychic Life • Conflict is experienced for two main reasons: • Internal forces in dynamic opposition • Relationship with figures of authority and/or rigid super ego engender perceptions of danger which lead to repression of impulses and frustration • Conflict leads to Anxiety

  23. Anxiety • Painful emotional experience • Alerts Ego of danger • Emerges from the emotional repetition of the trauma

  24. Anxiety • The conflict may be between • ID-Ego Ego fears being overwhelmed by Id • ID-Super Ego Guilt, self-condemnation • Ego-Ego Aware vs. repressed Ego Desire/want versus fear, sense of threat


  26. Ego-Defense Mechanisms • Are normal behaviorswhich operate on an unconscious level to deny or distort reality • Help the individual cope with anxiety and prevent the Ego from being overwhelmed • Have adaptive value if they do not become a style of life to avoid facing reality Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 4 (4)

  27. Repression Denial Reaction formation Projection Displacement Rationalization Regression Intellectualization Sublimation Introjection Identification Compensation Defense Mechanisms

  28. Ego Strength or Resiliency • The more the EGO needs to use repression to maintain equilibrium: • The more rigid and defendedit will be, and • The less capable to deal with the demands of the ID and the outside WORLD and the criticisms of the SUPER EGO

  29. Theory of Psychopathology (1/2) • When conflicts occur in early life, a fixation or “freezing” of development occurs • Person will have difficulty with the tasks of the stage in which conflict occurred • Conflicts at one stage influence the development of subsequent stages

  30. Theory of Psychopathology (2/2) • The experience of the conflict (then and now) generates ANXIETYwhich • Results in the development of MECHANISMS OF DEFENSE that help the Ego deal with the anxiety • Overuse of the defenses results in SYMPTOMS -- disguised expression of repressed emotions and impulses

  31. Stage of Development and Trauma • 4/5 years + Neurosis • 2/3 years Obsessive/compulsive • First year Psychosis, Narcissistic, Borderline • Ego can handle the anxiety using the defenses, or • Ego is overwhelmed and person regresses to primitive, primary processes of thinking

  32. ] Example Early Conflict • Child receives inadequate, inconsistent care in infancy, responds with: • Frustration and anger • Perception of needs as bad, self as bad • Fear of abandonment from caretaker • Part of the Ego that perceives the unmet needs and the negative feelings will berepressed or denied

  33. In adulthood, situations that elicit desire to be close to others, to have others take care of one’s needs, elicit Anxiety related to the old feelings of: • Frustration and anger • Perception of needs as bad, self as bad • Fear of abandonment • Symptom: Difficulties in interpersonal relations -- product of mechanisms of defense (e.g.denial, reaction formation, projection, displacement, sublimation) used to avoid the anxiety generated by these negative feelings

  34. Psychodynamic Perspective • Conflict between conscious (want to get close, be taken care of) and repressed aspects of the Ego (sense of self as bad; fear of rejection) • Potential Defense Mechanisms • Displacement: anger, frustration towards parental figures and self is directed towards significant others • Projection/Sublimation: projects on others repressed desires of being taken care of- becomes supreme caretaker • Reaction formation: develop a super-independent persona

  35. Therapeutic Objectives • Bring the unconscious conflict to awareness -- Resistance • Corrective emotional experience • Re-live past painful experiences under more favorable conditions to get a better solution to the conflict • The process involves • Catharsis – release of blocked emotions • Insight- awareness and understanding of emotional reactions and use of defenses

  36. Psychoanalytic Techniques • Free Association • Client reports without censoring feelings & thoughts • Dream Analysis • “Royal road to the unconscious” to bring unconscious material to light

  37. Psychoanalytic Techniques • Transference • The client reacts to the therapist as he did earlier to significant others • To re-experience repressed memories and feelings • ANALYSIS OF TRANSFERENCE — allows the client to achieve insight into the influence of the past • Interpretation to lead to Insight • Therapist points out, explains, and teaches the meanings of what is revealed- connect unconscious to conscious- which leads toinsight

  38. Counter-Transference • Therapists’ reactions toward the client is based on unconscious issues -- that may interfere with objectivity

  39. Resistance • Anything that works against the progress of therapy; prevents the production of unconscious material avoid dealing with painful emotions • Defense Mechanisms: Denial, intellectualization, projection, rationalization • Canceling appointments, terminating therapy prematurely, having nothing to say • Confrontation and Analysis of Resistance • Helps client see the secondary gain of behavior Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 4 (7)

  40. Limitations Freud’s Theory • Reductionism and theory of instincts • Concepts are difficult to observe and measure empirically • Limited use in predicting behavior: goes from the adult back to the child • Socio-cultural limits • Based on women from higher SES • Victorian issues of sex and morality • Outdated gender role perspectives

  41. Contributions • Moved the study of “nervous diseases” to the realm of the psychological • Discovery of the Unconscious • Comprehensive complex theory • Has generated much study and continues to evolve • Basic tenets have been incorporated in modern theories

  42. Anatomy of the Brain & the Unconscious

  43. Amygdala – receives perceptual stimulus directly; storages emotional memories • Prefrontal cortex- declarative memory- conscious recollections of past events, things, persons

  44. Pathways of Emotions: Fear