Describe and Evaluate the Psychodynamic Approach to psychology. 10 Marks
The psychodynamic approach was proposed by Freud, an Austrian neurologist turned psychologist. It focuses on the unconscious mind, and states that our behaviour is determined by instincts, such as the aggressive (Thanatos) and sex (libidinal) drives, which energise the unconscious mind. Many people will ask ‘What is the unconscious?’ The psychodynamic approach suggests that when people make important decisions in life, instinctive mental processes, which they have no control over, as the instincts presence is unknown, will help to make these choices. Freud said that this ‘overpowered’ the idea of free will, and that free will is just a delusion in peoples known thoughts to repress factors (i.e. earlier events). Therefore, the unconscious is a part of the mind that consists of memories from childhood and other past occurrences, and these memories will determine future behaviours. However, behaviourists would agree to disagree, saying that behaviour is shaped through experiences, but behaviourists would say that these experiences would have to be environmental interactions, which are learnt and remembered or recalled easily, and not just stored in the unconscious. Freud’s psychodynamic approach then continued on, providing an explanation for Freud’s theory of consciousness (see diagram, right). The tip of the iceberg is the conscious mind, which you can see is quite small, compared to the rest of the iceberg, which is below the surface. This represents the unconscious mind, and suggests that most of our thoughts and feelings are unconscious, as we cannot see or hear them. Freud suggested that the ID, Ego and Superego help to channel libidinal energy through the five stages of psychosexual development. The five psychosexual stages of development start from birth and continue until death. They go as follows: Oral (Birth - 18 Months), Anal (18 Months - 3 Years), Phallic (3 - 6 Years), Latent...
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