The main assumption of the psychodynamic approach is that all behaviour can be explained in terms of the inner conflicts of the mind. For example, in the case study of Little Hans, Freud argued that Little Hans’ phobia of horses was caused by a displaced fear of his father. The psychodynamic approach emphasizes the role of the unconscious mind, the structure of personality and the influence that childhood experiences have on later life. Freud believed that the unconscious mind determines much of our behaviour and that we are motivated by unconscious emotions. Freud believed that the unconscious contains unresolved conflicts and has a powerful effect on our behaviour and experience. He argued that many of these conflicts will show up in our fantasies and dreams, but can appear in the shape of symbols. Freud proposed that the adult personality has three parts the id, ego and superego. The id is the combination of pleasure seeking desires and we are born with it. The ego develops later and it controls the desires of the id. The superego is the moralistic part of personality which develops as a child interacts with significant figures such as its parents. The superego can be seen as the conscience. It is the role of the ego to maintain a balance between the id and the superego. According to Freud, the mind is similar to an iceberg with only the very tip being exposed and the bulk of the ice berg being unseen. The id is completely in the unconscious and the ego and super ego operate at conscious, pre-conscious and unconscious levels. Information that is painful is pushed into and contained in the unconscious mind. Other information that can be brought to consciousness is contained in the pre-conscious level. Our consciousness is what is currently in our minds. The conscious contains information that we are aware of and have easy access to. The pre conscious holds on to information until it is decided that we want in our conscious thought. The...
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