Compare and Contrast Key Perspectives in Psychology
Psychology literally means the study of the mind, translated from Ancient Greek as psyche, meaning “mind” or “soul” and logia, meaning “study”. The most accurate description of psychology is that it is the science of mind and behaviour (Collin et al, 2011). Psychology evolved from philosophy and can be dated back to the time of Ancient Greek philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle (325 BCE). Studying the nature of subjects such as the memory, thoughts and the consciousness, did not make psychology a standalone science, instead it was viewed as a form of philosophical speculations. Psychology became a separate, scientific discipline in the late 19th century. The world’s first experimental laboratory of psychology was founded in 1879 by Wundt. As many philosophers and scientists tried to explain the inner world of a person (psyche) since ancient times, many key perspectives of modern psychology appeared as a result. These key perspectives include: Psychodynamic, Behavioural, Cognitive, Humanistic, Evolutionary, Biological and Cross-Cultural (Cherry, 2014). This essay will explore and compare two of these perspectives, Behaviourism and Psychodynamic, and their influence on modern psychology.
The psychodynamic approach is based on the theories of Freud, Adler, Erikson and Jung. Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis. Together with Breuer, Freud developed psychological treatment, known as talking therapies, believing that many forms of mental illness, such as: irrational fears, hysteria, anxiety and imagined pains, were the results of a traumatic experience acquired by the patient in the past. Freud believed that people store their ideas, memories and impulses in the unconscious when they become too overwhelming for the conscious mind to bear, this is known as repression. He believed that the conscious mind is just the surface (likening it to an iceberg) of a complex psychic realm, which included the ego, superego and id. The id is driven only by the fulfilment of basic drives, for example; food, comfort, warmth and sex, and obeys the Pleasure Principle, meaning that each impulse must be gratified immediately. The ego, one the other hand, accepts the Reality Principle, which says we cannot have everything we desire. The ego negotiates with the id and may be compared to the moderator between id and superego (Collin et al, page.111). The superego is the internal voice, influenced by our parents and the society’s moral code, it is a judging voice of our conscience, which tells us what we should and should not do, and may often become the source of guilt and shame (Collin et al, 2011, pp.94-99). In Freud’s opinion, the difference between conscious and unconscious thoughts creates psychic tension, and that this is how many mental problems originate. Repressed and unprocessed emotions build up and then become revealed in anger, depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse and so on. These problems can be helped by releasing them and confronting them during the process of psychoanalysis. Freud tried to free his patients from repressed memories and ease their mental pain. Dream Analysis was a method which in Freud’s opinion allowed to access and encode messages sent by the unconscious. Despite all of this, even Breuer criticised Freud for concentrating too much on the sexual origins of neuroses (Collin et al, 2011, p.95). The humanistic approach criticised psychodynamics of excluding the thought of free will (McLeod, 2007). Furthermore, today Freud’s interpretation of dreams appears unreasonable to many. In spite of all the criticisms, many accept that Freud highlighted the importance of childhood experiences and his methods inspired many famous psychotherapists to develop new types of treatment. One example includes Virginia Satire, who stresses the importance of the family environment (Collin et al, 2011, pp.146-147). Freud also introduced the idea of defence mechanisms which is...
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