We then discuss the place of psychodynamic theory within contemporary psychology, and look toward the future as well. The core assumptions of psychodynamic theory are surprisingly simple. Moreover, these assumptions are unique to the psychodynamic framework: No other theories of personality accept these three ideas in their purest form. Psychodynamic theorists contend that the majority of psychological processes take place outside conscious awareness.
In psychoanalytic terms, the activities of the mind or psyche are presumed to be largely unconscious. Research confirms this basic premise of psychoanalysis: Psychodynamic theory is not alone in positing that early childhood events play a role in shaping personality, but the theory is unique in the degree to which it emphasizes these events as determinants of personality development and dynamics.
This is especially true of experiences that are outside the normal range for example, losing a parent or sibling at a very early age. The third core assumption of psychodynamic theory is that nothing in mental life happens by chance—that there is no such thing as a random thought, feeling, motive, or behavior.
Freud set out to explain psychological phenomena in terms that could be linked to neurological functioning as it was understood in his day.
Thus, it is most accurate to think of psychodynamic theory as a set of interrelated models that complement and build upon each other. Three are particularly important: In his book, The Interpretation of Dreams , Freud introduced his topographic model of the mind, which contended that the mind could be divided into three regions: The preconscious contains material that is capable of becoming conscious but is not conscious at the moment because your attention is not being directed toward it.
You can move material from the preconscious into consciousness simply by focusing your attention on it. Consider, for example, what you had for dinner last night. Not to worry, in a few moments it will be preconscious again, and you can move on to more important things. The unconscious—the most controversial part of the topographic model—contains anxiety-producing material for example, sexual impulses, aggressive urges that are deliberately repressed held outside of conscious awareness as a form of self-protection because they make you uncomfortable.
Freud remained devoted to the topographic model, but by he had outlined the key elements of his psychosexual stage model , which argued that early in life we progress through a sequence of developmental stages, each with its own unique challenge and its own mode of sexual gratification.
Note that—consistent with the developmental challenges that the child confronts during each stage—oral fixation is hypothesized to result in a dependent personality, whereas anal fixation results in a lifelong preoccupation with control. Oedipal fixation leads to an aggressive, competitive personality orientation. Ultimately, Freud recognized that the topographic model was helpful in understanding how people process and store information, but not all that useful in explaining other important psychological phenomena for example, why certain people develop psychological disorders and others do not.
To extend his theory, Freud developed a complementary framework to account for normal and abnormal personality development—the structural model —which posits the existence of three interacting mental structures called the id, ego, and superego. The id is the seat of drives and instincts, whereas the ego represents the logical, reality-oriented part of the mind, and the superego is basically your conscience—the moral guidelines, rules, and prohibitions that guide your behavior.
You acquire these through your family and through the culture in which you were raised. According to the structural model, our personality reflects the interplay of these three psychic structures, which differ across individuals in relative power and influence. When the id predominates and instincts rule, the result is an impulsive personality style. When the superego is strongest, moral prohibitions reign supreme, and a restrained, overcontrolled personality ensues.
When the ego is dominant, a more balanced set of personality traits develop Eagle, ; McWilliams, In addition to being the logical, rational, reality-oriented part of the mind, the ego serves another important function: It helps us manage anxiety through the use of ego defenses. Ego defenses are basically mental strategies that we use automatically and unconsciously when we feel threatened Cramer, , All ego defenses involve some distortion of reality. The most popular anti-depressants are generally classified as SSRIs.
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Psychoanalytic Terms & Concepts Defined Confrontation. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a form of psychotherapy derived from psychoanalytic theories and modeled after a psychoanalytic model of mental functioning.
The psychodynamic approach includes all the theories in psychology that see human functioning based upon the interaction of drives and forces within the person, particularly unconscious, and between the different structures of the personality.
In psychology, a psychodynamic theory is a view that explains personality in terms of conscious and unconscious forces, such as unconscious desires and beliefs. Psychodynamic therapy is the psychological interpretation of mental and emotional processes. Rooted in traditional psychoanalysis, it draws from object relations, ego psychology, and self psychology. Rooted in traditional psychoanalysis, it draws from object relations, ego psychology, and self psychology.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that is different from traditional psychodynamic psychotherapy in that the therapist and the patient actively work together to help the patient recover from his or her mental illness. Psychodynamics definition is - the psychology of mental or emotional forces or processes developing especially in early childhood and their effects on behavior and mental states. the psychology of mental or emotional forces or processes developing especially in early childhood and their effects on behavior and mental.