The psychodynamic theorist such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung suggest that psychological, emotional, and motivational forces occur in an unconscious level. Given the diverse cultural backgrounds that exist it is pivotal that professionals in the field develop an understanding of the ethnocentric limitations of the psychodynamic theory. Understanding the psychodynamic theory and multicultural elements coincide, but given the ethnocentric limitations discussed in this paper one can conclude that psychodynamic theory is not necessarily a universal concept (Cervone & Pervin, 2010). This paper will provide a definition of psychodynamic theory in addition to discussing the ethnocentric limitations and culturally diverse interactions.
Ethnocentric limitations of psychodynamic Theory
The key features of the psychodynamic theory including the collective unconscious assume there are no differences between humans. Failure to acknowledge obvious differences in culture, race, ethnicity, skin tone, gender, and age can have repercussions for which the founders of psychodynamic theory did not account. The basic assumptions of the psychodynamic theory, such as behavior as the root of childhood experiences does not take into account that childhood experiences vary based upon factors such as race and environment. For example, a dark skinned girl from East India whose parents have relocated to a small mid-western American town where the newcomers are in the obvious minority would experience childhood differently. Some experiences could include problems assimilating to the culture of the region to which they moved, dealing with stereotypes based on skin tone and accented English. In addition, psychodynamic theory also includes the basic assumption that behavior has a cause or reason. The limitation for this assumption is the interpretation of the reason or cause of the observed behavior. The psychosocial development feature of the psychodynamic theories does not take into account that psychosocial development is of a multi-faceted nature when different cultures must find viable ways to interact with and understand each other.
In areas of application, psychodynamic theories would fail to address key issues the aforementioned young girl could encounter. Psychodynamic theories could fail to understand how attachment within an East Indian family differs from attachment in North American families (Tummala-Nara, 2007). Issues of personality development differ within the family unit based on cultural family values. These differences must receive attention during the course of therapeutic interventions. Differing cultures include values, beliefs, and morals that differ from those found in American culture. A Caucasian female therapist who treats the same dark-skinned, young woman from East India could view her beautiful skin tone as exotic and desirable. However, the young woman could believe that the therapist’s fair complexion is favorable to her own according to the culture to which the patient belongs. The effect of skin tone differences and other ethnocentric factors on the development of the young woman’s personality could become difficult to understand by a therapist of different cultural origins (Tummala-Narra, 2007). Culturally Diverse Group Interactions
Psychodynamic theory assisted in shaping cultural attitudes toward gender; however, it lacks cross-cultural application and is primarily androcentric (Alloy, Riskand, & Manos, 2004). Because Freud lived in a society of rigid social-class distinction, the patriarch controlled the family, and women experienced limited opportunities. Erik Erikson continued along the same path as Freud, but added developmental stages occurring later in life (Cervone & Pervin, 2010). Other theorists in the psychodynamic field, including Karen Horney, Alfred Adler, Harry Stack Sullivan, and Carl Jung would introduce refinements;...