PSY203: Abnormal Psychology (July 2011)
The psychoanalytic model has some advantages over the behavioural model. Critically discuss the contribution of these models to the integrated approach currently used in the understanding of the aetiology, and the assessing and treating of psychological disorders. (95 marks)
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Historically, psychopathology was once diagnosed and treated based on one dimensional approach based on supernatural, biological and psychological traditions. Psychoanalytic and behavioral model was categorized under psychological traditions. Firstly, this paper will discuss the differences between the psychoanalytical and behavioral model, following the arguments of the strengths and limitations for each model. Next, this paper will explain how these two models contribute to the understanding of aetiology, and the assessing and treating of psychological disorders.
Psychoanalytic model was considered derived by Sigmund Freud which focused on the influences of unconscious mind on a person’s behavior. Freud’s idea focused on three major facets: 1) the structure of the mind and functions of personality, 2) defense mechanisms and 3) the psychosexual development (Barlow & Durand, 2005).
Briefly, the mind had three major functions; the id, the ego and the superego. The id is the illogical, emotional and irrational seeking pleasure principle. In Freud’s view, id is selfish and dangerous if it is unchecked. The ego, on the other hand operates according to reality principle instead of pleasure principle. It is the secondary process that opposing to the id. The superego represents the moral principle instilled in us by our parents and culture. Freud conceptualized that the id and superego are unconscious but we are only aware of the ego in us. Next, the defense mechanisms are a set of unconscious protective processes that keeps the conflict in check. The third facet which is the controversial psychosexual development explained human’s
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basic needs through the stages of oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital which satisfied our drives and pleasure (Coon & Mitterer, 2009).
According to Freud, psychological disorders are results of unconscious conflict. As such, the aim of psychoanalysis is to resolve these conflicts. Freud developed the ‘talk therapy’ from free association which patients are instructed to say whatever things those come across their mind (Barlow & Durand, 2005). This technique revealed the emotionally charged material which is too painful to bring to consciousness. It usually analyzed the childhood experiences to find out how it shapes a patient’s current action (Cherry, 2011). Another technique is dream analysis that therapist interpret their dream content to unconscious conflicts. It helps the patient to gain insight of the nature of conflicts. Classic psychoanalysis analyzed the unconscious conflicts, resolve them and restructure them so that the ego will be in charge (Barlow & Durand, 2005). Freud’s contributions were invaluable to the western civilization shifting away from witch and demon philosophy. Today, psychotherapists adopt another type of therapy derived from psychoanalysis called the psychodynamic psychotherapy. It still emphasized on unconscious process but it used a mixture of eclectic tactics with social and...