Outline & evaluate the psychodynamic approach (12)
The psychodynamic approach states that abnormality is caused by our libido (sexual desires) and our thantos (aggressive desires), these are our id desires. The id is an irrational part of our personality and demands satisfaction and is ruled by the pleasure principle. The ego is a conscious part of the personality, as a child interacts with the world and the constraints of reality. It is therefore governed by the reality principle. The superego embodies our conscious sense of right and wrong. The id, ego and superego work together, for example, if there was some money on a table with a person sat at the table with it, your id desire would be to just go over and take the money. Then your ego would step in and realise the constraints of reality and tell you to wait until no one is looking and then take the money. However, your superego would then step in and tell you that it is wrong to steal and you shouldn’t do it and that your parents taught you not to steal. Abnormality stems from an imbalance in these three things, for example, anxiety disorders can be caused by an over developed superego. This theory offers an explanation for all abnormality disorders however; there is no way of researching into the id, ego or superego as they are all in our subconscious. This is a big disadvantage as if it cannot be scientifically tested it cannot be proven or disproven. Also Freud based a lot of his findings from very few case studies. This would mean that his theory cannot be generalised to the population as within a case study there are many individual differences such as age, lifestyle and culture and drug abuse. This theory is also reductionist and does not take into account cognitive, behaviourist and the biological approaches to abnormality.
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