Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytic Perspective

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Maria James Group 3

Essay on the Psychodynamic Perspective

Outline Freud's Psychoanalytic approach in Psychology.

Sigmund Freud was born in 1856. His interest in the problems of neurosis started when he was working under the neurologist Charcot. It was Charcots' teaching of hysteria that Freud became most interested in. Freud came to the belief that the human psyche was made up of three psychodynamic structures. These were called the Id, the Ego and the Superego. The Id was present from birth and consisted of the basic animal instincts. The drive and motivation of the personality. The Ego, Freud believed to be developing from birth and operates on the reality principle. The Ego tries to strike a balance between the irrational demands of the Id and the constraints of the social world. The third structure was the Superego. This developed at about 6 years of age. The Superego operates on the morality principle and it's demands are unrealistic and requires absolute perfection. The Superego is also know as the conscience.

According to Freud the Ego was the mediator to the Id and the Superego. The Ego would use defence mechanisms such as displacement, projection or repression to balance out any conflicts between the Id and the Superego. Freud also researched the area of psychosexual development and he believed that everyone went through the same stages of development. Each of these stages had one main driving force known as the libido (said by many to mean the sex drive but more likely to in Freud's meaning to be 'life force'). The oral stage was from the age of 0 to approximately 2 years of age. At this stage the libido focused on the mouth and the child obtains pleasure from oral stimulation. The conflict here was to obtain a balanced amount of stimulation. If this was not achieved the individual was fixated at this stage. Examples of fixation in the oral stage are smoking, constant chewing on pens or pencils, nail biting and over eating.

The second stage was the anal stage. This stage occurs between the ages of 2 years and 4 years. Here the libido is focused obtaining pleasure from passing faeces. The are two fixations that can occur at this stage. A person can become either Anal Retentive because the parents used excessive amounts of pressure and punishment. Examples of which are someone being obsessively clean, miserly and mean or hoarders. The second fixation which can occur is Anal Expulsive. This being caused by parents who have been to lenient and fail to instil societies rules regarding bowel movement and conflict. Examples of this fixation are disorganisation, sloppiness, carelessness and overeagerness.

The Phallic stage occurred between the ages of 3 to 6 years and was thought to be the most important of the moral development stages. It is at this stage the libido focuses on the genitals and satisfaction is gained from masturbation. Freud came up with two different types of development at this stage for boys and girls. Boys developed through the Oedipus Complex (fear of castration) and girls through the Electra Complex (penis envy having already been castrated).

The next stage was considered to develop from the age of 6 until puberty. This stage was called the Latency stage and here the libido focuses on other areas of development and sexual desires are repressed. The libido becomes dormant.

The final stage of Freud's theory was the Genital stage. This occurred from the age of 12 to 18 years. As long as the child had developed and successfully resolved the Oedipus and Electra stages the individual would become interested in the opposite sex.

Freud researched many other fields including that of the unconscious mind. He developed the idea of a three layer level of consciousness. There was the Conscious, the Pre-conscious and the Unconscious. These levels of consciousness were based on the Id, Ego and Super-ego. Freud also did a lot of research...
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