Psychodynamic Theory Essay

Topics: Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis, Unconscious mind Pages: 6 (2125 words) Published: June 15, 2011
My essay is on the Psychodynamic theory based on the belief that people’s behaviour and emotions as adults are rooted in their childhood experiences.

I will focus on the Psychodynamic concept in relation to the unconscious mind. I will look at the concept of ‘Object relations’ and particularly I will look at what Freud called Transference. I will say how I can relate to these concepts in my own personal relationships with others and give some examples of how these can impact in my client work.

Sigmund Fraud (1856-1939) was an Austrian neurologist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychiatry. Some of the theories that Freud is best known for are the unconscious mind, defence mechanisms, free association, transference, and the three parts of the psyche that he termed as the id, ego and superego. Psychodynamic counselling originated from Freud’s psychoanalysis theory with the belief that most emotional problems originate in our childhood and that all experiences we have will have some kind of subsequent unconscious effect on us. (Wikipedia, Date accessed 21/2/11).

The unconscious mind might be defined as that part of the mind which gives rise to a collection of mental phenomena that manifest in a person's mind but which the person is not aware of at the time of their occurrence. These phenomena include unconscious feelings, unconscious or automatic skills, unnoticed perceptions, unconscious thoughts, unconscious habits and automatic reactions, complexes, hidden phobias and concealed desires. (Wikipedia, Date accessed 21/2/11).

The role of the counsellor is to interpret unconscious mental content to enable the client to achieve insight. (McLeod, 2003. p119). The psychodynamic counsellor or therapist, therefore, is always looking for ways of getting ‘beneath the surface’ of what the client or patient is saying – the assumption is that what the person initially says about himself or herself is only part of the story, and probably not the most interesting part. (McLeod, 2003. p84). 5.2.2

I relate this concept of the unconscious mind to my own patterns of behaviour towards others and I can see how I have repressed my painful emotions and disturbances from my childhood as a way of coping with my difficult relationship with my sister. My defence mechanisms have protected by keeping my anger towards my sister under control, therefore I usually react by giving her the silent treatment as a way of gaining control over the situation. However, because I am now more aware of my own unconscious motivations, this awareness is helping to improve my difficult relationship with my sister and I am more open to the likelihood that she too may be unconscious of her how her own behaviour affects me also, and this leaves me feeling less angry towards her and I am more accepting of our differences.

An example of how the concept of the unconscious could have impacted my client work is when my client tried to provoke a reaction from me by saying that he thought that I was old and therefore unlikely to be able to understand his situation. This could have offended me or provoked hostility from me towards him if I was not aware that my client was playing out a relationship from his past onto me. I thought about how my client may have been trying to get a reaction from me because this might be his pattern of behaviour on how he gains attention or a reaction. When I discussed this with my client he said that he could see that he was unconsciously trying to provoke a reaction from me just as he did with his mother because he felt that she was always too busy for him, and this was his way gaining her attention, and so by doing this with me was his way of trying to hold my attention also. My new awareness of how others unconscious motivations can impact my client work help me not to react negatively to my clients.

The term ‘object relations’ refers to Freud’s theory that there is great...
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