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Psychodynamic Theories

Sigmund Freuds Psychoanalysis

1. The origins of Freuds ideas

Early neurological practice

Work with Dr. Joseph Breuers

patient, Anna O, who suffered
from hysteria (i.e., physical
symptoms without organic cause)

2. Beginnings of Psychoanalytic
therapy and theory

from patients like Anna, concluded

that neurotic symptoms related to
previous, traumatic experiences
to treat patients, developed
method of free association =
telling everything

symptom removal requires

both - recall traumatic event
AND - express associated emotion

to attempts to remember events
taken as evidence of

developed a theory of personality

to account for the behavior
observed in patients
3. Fundamental assumption

Psychoanalysis is a dynamic
(motivational) conception which
traces mental life back to an interplay
between forces that favour or inhibit
each other (Freud, 1910)

behavior is the product of

opposing mental forces

- impulse expression vs. inhibition

Freud has a spatial or mechanical

conception of the personality
structure in which mental forces
interact ...
4. Personality dynamics (motivation)

- instinctual impulses or drives

provide the energy to run the
personality system

- life instincts to preserve person &

species - e.g., hunger, thirst, sex;
- libido = sexual energy
- death instinct after WW I

Postulated that primary source of

sexual pleasure shifts with
development, creating 5
psychosexual stages:
- oral, anal, phallic, latency, genital

Over- or under-gratification at a stage

causes fixation & affects adult
5. Structure of personality

a. Spatial theory (pre-1920s)

- conscious, preconscious and

unconscious systems

- repression: keeping something

out of consciousness by censor

Figure 6.1
b. Revised theory (1933)

- id: concerned with satisfaction of

needs (instincts)
- operates on pleasure principle
- irrational (reality = fantasy)
- entirely unconscious

- ego: concerned with survival

- reality principle
- rational, logical
- both conscious & unconscious

- superego: concerned with morality

- conscience + ego-ideal
- both conscious & unconscious

(see Figure 6.2)

6. Behavioral outcomes of the
conflict between opposing mental

a. Anxiety

felt when ego is threatened

(see Freuds quote, text, p 103-4)

Threat from:

external world = realistic anxiety

id = neurotic anxiety

superego = moral anxiety

The proverb tells us that one cannot
serve two masters. The poor ego
has a still harder time of it; it has to
serve three harsh masters, and has
to do its best to reconcile the
demands and claims of all three.
These demands are always divergent
and often seem quite incompatible;
no wonder that the ego so frequently
gives up its task. The three tyrants
are the external world, the superego,
and the id ...

The ego ... feels itself hemmed in on

three sides and threatened by three
kinds of danger, towards which it
reacts by developing anxiety when it
is too hard pressed.

(Freud,1932, p.103).
b. Defense mechanisms (with A. Freud)

Repress threatening/painful idea

AND do something else to release
pent-up energy in a safer or more
acceptable manner

Repress impulse + direct it toward less
threatening object
Repress impulse + direct it toward less
threatening, socially desirable object
Repress impulse + see it in others
Reaction formation
Repress impulse + express its opposite
Repress impulse + express more
desirable motive
c. Dreams
a royal road to the unconscious

- represent fulfilment of wishes

(often unconscious or socially

- latent content is transformed into

more acceptable manifest content

- less threatening, so dream is the

guardian of sleep
Example: Dream reported by
Little Hans -- aged 5 years

In the night, there was a big giraffe in

the room and a crumpled one; and
the big one called out because I took
the crumpled one away from it. Then
it stopped calling out; and then I sat
down on top of the crumpled one.

May reflect:
d. Neurotic symptoms

Maladaptive or inappropriate
behavior or thoughts

Reflect severe repression or

defensive behaviors

Freuds treatment: Psychoanalysis

Goals of psychoanalytic theory:

make unconscious ideas
allow mature, rational
consideration of them
strengthen ego for greater
conscious control of behavior
in future
Later Psychodynamic Theorists:
Shared Freuds belief that
unconscious motivation was key

Greater emphasis on general

motivation toward life and
creativity; less on the explicitly
sexual nature of motivation

More emphasis on interpersonal

relations; less on internal workings
of individuals mind.

More emphasis on conscious,

rational thought processes (ego);
less on unconscious processes.

Less focus on childhood origins of

personality; more on lifespan
Carl Jungs Analytical Psychology

distinguishes conscious, personal

unconscious, & collective
unconscious (contains inherited

2 attitudes:
extroversion vs. introversion

ways of experiencing:
sensing vs. intuition,
feeling vs. thinking,
judging vs. perceiving

self strives for unity & actualization

through union of opposites
Why are Freud & Jung Important?

1st modern models of personality;

behavioral & humanistic theorists
reacted against psychodynamic

Psychoanalytic & Jungian

therapies continue as treatment

Lasting cultural effects:

- changed our cultures view
psychological disorders, childhood
- influenced our language,
literature & criticism
- influenced our implicit personality
BUT, beware:

Incomplete or inconsistent
theoretical ideas
(e.g., Freuds female psychology)

Many propositions difficult to test

empirically (e.g., archetypes)

Many tenets lack research support

although cognitive unconscious
well supported

Verbal therapies not more

effective than others