The word psychology derives from the Greek psyche (mind, soul spirit) and logos (discourse, study). It suggests that psychology is simply 'study of the mind'. However, it is worth to mentioning that definition of psychology has been changed in order to dominant perspective. In 1879, when W. Wundt opened her first psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig and origanated psychology as separate discipline, the definition of psychology was: ' the Science of Mental Life, both of its phenomena and of their conditions... The Phenomena are such thing as we call feelings, desires, cognition, reasoning, decisions and the like.' Nowaday, behaviorism and cognitive psychology are dominant force in psychology, for that reason the most common and popular is Clark & Miller's (1970) definition of psychology as: '... the scientific study of behaviour. Its subject matter includes behavioural processes that are observable, such as gesture, speech and physiological changes, and processes that can only be inferred, such as thoughts and dreams'. This definition corresponds to more modern definition of psychology. Zimbardo defines psychology as 'scientific study of behaviour of individuals and their mental processes' (1992).
There are several major approaches in psychology: psychodynamic, behaviouristic, humanistic and cognitive. This essay focuses on psychodynamic and cognitive approach.
Psychodynamic approach was started by Sigmund Freud. In 1900 he published psychoanalist theory of personality, in which he had noticed a relation between mental disease and mind (not demons or supernatural forces). Moreover he had undrestood that unconcious mind can treat some forms od mental illnesses (for example hysteria).
The main issue of psychodynamic approach is a stress on unconcious feelings, thoughts, wishes and memory. It is said that behaviour is determined by unconcious mind. The concept of unconcious mind is the most important idea in psychodymnamic psychology. On the strenght of this concept, Freud created first theory of personality. The structure of personality has three systems: the id, the ego and the superego.
The id is placed in unconcious mind from the birth. There are located two basic, very simple instincts: sexual instinct (libido) and aggressive instintc. They motive to avoid pain or/and search pleasure. It is important to understand that the id is totally irrational and demanding.
The ego is located between the id and the superego, so it is between unconcious mind (needs of intincts) and conscience plus demands of society. It has got difficult work to mediate between often different aspirations. It has to make decision, which is based on real possibilities.It represents logical, sensible mind and develops during the first 2 years of life.
The superego represents conscience, morality, social standard. It develops at approximately the age of 5 when child adopts many of parents and society rules. It is divided into two parts: conscience (which is result of child being punished and relevants to feeling guilty) and ego-ideal (which is result of child being rewarding and relevants to feeling proud).
Good interaction among these three constituent of mind guarantee balance and mental health. However wishes of id often resistant to social demands, for that reason the ego uses unconscious strategies (called defense machanism) to 'relieve the tension'. The defense mechanism are the way to protect ego from anxiety and allow person to manage in real world. The are several, major defence mechanisms: repression, projection, reaction formation, regression, denial, displacement, acting out, humor, rationalisation, sublimation. It is worth mentioning that mental disorders are mainly caused by conflicts among the id, the ego,the superego and badly working defense mechanism.
The important aspect of theory of personality is the development of personality. Freud suggested that personality develops in series of...
References: 'Psychology, a student 's handbook ' Michael W. Eysenck
'Psychology in perspective ' Carol Tavris, Carole Wade
'Psychology ' Lester M. Sdorow, Cheryl A. Rickabaugh
'Perspectives on Psychology ' Michael W. Eysenck
'Themes, issues and debates in psychology ' Richard Gross
'Cognitive Psychology, a student 's handbook ' Michael W. Eysenck, Mark T. Keane
'Psychology a new introduction for A level ' Richard Gross, Rob McIlveen, Hugh Coolican, Alan Clamp & Julia Russell
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