Psychodynamic Approach

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The Psychodynamic Approach encompasses both Freud’s theories and methods and those of his followers. Freud’s own theory was called Psychoanalysis which is both a theory and a therapy. The Psychodynamic Approach focuses upon the role that internal processes and past experience have in shaping a persons personality. These theorists believe that behaviour is guided by unconscious urges not rational thought. Freud’s theories are derived from what his patients told him during treatment. According to Freud all adult behaviour is driven by instinctual impulses and desires that originate in childhood. Most impulses are to do with sex and fantasies about behaviours that are prohibited by society and are therefore kept hidden by using defence mechanisms. In order to uncover our repressed unconscious wishes and desires which for Freud were the cause of adult neuroses, one needed to use psychoanalysis. The aim of this is to get the repressed emotions into the conscious where they can be dealt with. You can try to uncover what goes on in the unconscious using a variety of methods: dream analysis, free association, clinical interviews, analysis of “slips of the tongue”.

The Oedipus Complex is a Freudian term named after a Greek myth in which a man kills his father and unknowingly sleeps with his mother. Freud described how as a young child, a boy develops an unconscious infatuation towards his mother, whilst at the same time fearing his father and viewing him as a rival. None of this usually happens at a conscious level. It results in an unconscious conflict because the boy desires the love of his mother yet fears the consequences from his father -the unconscious mind at such an age lacks the wisdom to truly understand the situation. Often, the unconscious will find a satisfactory way of dealing with this conflict. However, in many cases, the solution is far from perfect. The consequences are many fold and may include: a boy who becomes an over competitive man (wants...
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