Learning and Applying the Theories
Case Study 1
Use Freud’s states of consciousness and stages of psychosexual development to help explain Hank’s behavior by answering the following questions.
1. What personality (or character) type does Hank display according to Freudian theory? Provide evidence for your answer. At what stage is Hank fixated, according to the Freudian perspective? Find evidence of fixation in the case study. What would have caused this fixation?
Hank displays the oral aggressive personality as evidenced by his sarcasm and argumentative nature. There is evidence of fixation at the oral stage. It includes his chain smoking, continuous eating, and chewing on his fingernails, and, in particular, eating the ice cream and smoking while thinking about his stressful week. Fixation at this stage would be due to either overindulgence or neglect in feeding during infancy. The case study implies that his mother overindulged Hank by feeding him a bottle often.
2. Would Freudian theory describe Hank’s eating and argumentative behaviors as being internally or externally motivated? Explain the motivation.
Behavior is internally motivated according to Freud. It is due to the libido being cathected to the mouth in Hank’s case. There is also the possibility that thanatos is influencing Hank’s unhealthy habits.
3. Find an example of a Freudian defense mechanism that Hank uses in this description. Explain it.
Hank uses rationalization as evidenced by him explaining Sally breaking up with him as being due to his weight (and her shallowness) rather than his personality.
4. Find an example of regression in the case study. Explain it.
Regression occurred when Hank would chew his fingernails when he was nervous and eat or smoke when he was anxious. The eating of ice cream and smoking because he was stressed about his work are examples of it.
5. Would a Freudian therapist view Hank’s weight problem as a behavioral problem, in and of itself, or as a symptom of another problem? Explain.
Freudian therapists would view Hank’s weight problem as a symptom of an underlying, unresolved, unconscious conflict.
6. What therapeutic techniques would a Freudian therapist, like the one in the case study, likely use? What state of consciousness would be the focus of therapy? How does healing/improvement occur during Freudian therapy?
Psychoanalysis uses such processes as free association and dream analysis. The unconscious will be the focus of therapy and therefore the therapist will attempt to make the unconscious conscious, which will create healing.
Theory Comparison Questions
1. What is an alternate explanation (besides Freud's) of Hank’s eating and argumentative behaviors?
One possible explanation from a behaviorist perspective is that he was reinforced for being loud as a child by receiving food and attention. His weight may also be partly genetically determined.
2. What aspect of Hank’s behavior would be the focus of a therapist who is behaviorally oriented? What aspect would be the focus if the therapist were psychodynamically oriented?
A behaviorally oriented therapist would focus on the behavior itself, i.e., Hank’s eating behaviors and his argumentativeness. A psychodynamically oriented therapist, however, would see those overt behaviors as a sign of some other underlying problem.
3. Use Erikson’s concept of lack of intimacy to explain Hank’s problems in establishing long-term relationships with women. How does this differ from the Freudian explanation?
According to Erikson intimacy is developed during the early (or young) adulthood stage when the crisis of intimacy versus isolation is successfully resolved. A Freudian explanation, however, would have to revolve around an unresolved Oedipus complex. In Erikson’s theory, social adaptation influences the outcome of the crises, however, in...
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