One of the strengths of the Psychodynamic Approach is that it provided a valuable insight into how early experiences or relationships can affect our adult personality. One of the examples of this is that fixations can be caused at the Oral Stage of psychosexual development such as being separated from the primary caregiver too early or having feeding difficulties. These fixations can then lead to psychological problems centred round eating or drinking. Supporting evidence for this strength was carried out by Jacobs at al (1966) using Rorschach inkblots to compare the orality of smokers and non-smokers. It was found that smokers emerged as being significantly more oral.
Another strength of the Psychodynamic Approach is that it is the first approach to try and attempt to explain mental illness in psychological terms and has had an enormous influence on the understand and treatment of mental disorders. An example of this is Psychoanalysis and Dream Therapy which aims to make the unconscious material conscious so it is easier to deal with as Freud believed that dreams showed our hidden thoughts and wishes. Evidence to support this was carried out by Sandell (1999) who studied the symptoms of 756 patients before and after three years or state-funded psychoanalysis and found that patients had significantly fewer symptoms after the therapy.
One of the weaknesses of the Psychodynamic Approach is that most of Freud’s is based on findings of case studies, single individual where cases are often unique and there are problems with generalization.
Another weakness of the Psychodynamic Approach is that Freud did not take into account cultural variations. Most of his research was done on white, middle class people. Every class and culture of people have differ ways and values, so his findings cannot be generalized to all cultures.