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Freudian Psychoanalysis. Freudian theory and its extensions. Lucie Johnson, 11/25/02. Freud and Desire. There is, said Freud, an unbridgeable distance between desire and reality. We have in us insatiable desires for love, fulfillment, meaning, power etc.

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Freudian Psychoanalysis

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Freudian psychoanalysis l.jpg

Freudian Psychoanalysis

Freudian theory and its extensions

© Lucie Johnson 2003

Lucie Johnson, 11/25/02

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Freud and Desire

  • There is, said Freud, an unbridgeable distance between desire and reality. We have in us insatiable desires for love, fulfillment, meaning, power etc.

  • That distance causes suffering. Hence suffering is an inescapable part of the human condition.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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How to Manage Desire

  • How to manage desire (seen as coming out of drives) is the central question of Freudian therapy.

  • What does one do with desires that cannot be actualized? With the experience of our own powerlessness?

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Are the “Desires of our Heart” Unconscious?

  • Freud thinks so. He places them deep within ourselves, at a primitive infant-like level. They are absolute desires for things such as total happiness, complete gratification.

  • The Psalmist says:” Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (PS 37:4) What do you make of this?

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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The Unconscious

  • For Freud, this is the place for the pain of repressed trauma, impossible hopes and unacceptable longings, great anger and destructiveness, creativity, life energy, and terror.

  • All behaviors and problems have their root there.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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What does Freudian Therapy Aim to Do?

  • Therapy aims to help the client obtain some access to the unconscious material that creates troublesome behavior.

  • For example: why does X repeatedly fall in love with someone who is unavailable?

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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But if the Unconscious is unconscious, how can someone possibly know what is going on there?

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Hypnosis and the Unconscious

  • Of special interest is the phenomenon of post hypnotic suggestion.

  • Under hypnosis, Terry is given the instruction to get up and stretch later, when the trance is over, and the hypnotist says “winter”.

  • Later, the hypnotist says: “we sure are having a cold winter”. Terry gets up and stretches.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Post Hypnotic Suggestion and the Unconscious

  • When Terry gets up and stretches, s/he will say :”I just felt so stiff”, or find some other justification.

  • In fact, her motivation is unconscious.

  • And she also cannot remember what went on during hypnosis. That too has become unconscious.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Hypnosis and the Unconscious

  • Post hypnotic suggestion shows that unconscious motivation can exist.

  • Hypnosis itself will sometimes allow someone to remember a forgotten trauma (though such “memories” may not be reliable)

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Hypnotists (MD’s) who Influenced Freud

  • Charcot (1825-1893), in Paris, viewed hysteria as a minor form of epilepsy. Only hysterics were hypnotizable. brought about catharsis by duplicating , under hypnosis the original trauma that caused hypnosis

  • Bernheim (1840-1890), in Nancy, viewed hypnosis as normal. He emphasized post-hypnotic suggestion.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Freudian Concepts and Hypnosis

  • With Charcot, Freud adopted the notion of traumatic event and the notion of catharsis.

  • With Bernheim, Freud adopted the notion of unconscious motivation.

  • The phenomenon of hypnotic amnesia, confirmed Freud’s notion of the unconscious.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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How Did Psychoanalysis Access the Unconscious?

  • From hypnosis

  • To free association

  • To the study of dreams

  • To the observation of everyday life

  • To play therapy

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Studies in Hysteria: the Emergence of Method

  • With Breuer(1842-1925), Freud studied Anna O., aka Bertha Pappenheim

  • Phenomena observed: spontaneous trances, pathogenic ideas, catharsis, transference, hysterical pregnancy, a variety of repressed traumatic events.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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From Hypnosis to Free Association

  • Freud was not a good hypnotist, hence got patients to relax instead.

  • He placed his head on their forehead and asked them to say the first thing that came to their mind (free association).

  • Hr theorized that, since the patient would remember what happened, the cure would be more stable than a hypnotic cure.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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The Interpretation of Dreams (1900).

  • Every human being dreams. So everyone has an unconscious layer from where these dreams come.

  • Dreams, in their LATENT (symbolic) CONTENT reflect the workings of the unconscious.

  • The dream’s manifest content (stories and images) are a condensed expression of unfulfilled unconscious wishes.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Organization of the Personality

  • In everyone there exists a primitive, instinctual layer of thought: the ID, which seeks to satisfy itself (pleasure principle).

  • The ID (tr: IT) then encounters a limiting REALITY, and the EGO (tr: I) develops (reality principle).

  • The EGO encounters a limiting SOCIAL REALITY, and the SUPEREGO (tr: that which is over --supervises-- the “I”) develops.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Personality is a Process

  • The ID, EGO and SUPEREGO are not “things”, they are modes of operation of the self, layers of thoughts and feelings.

  • There is always an ebb and flow between the three processes, and a need to harmonize them.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Health is a Balancing Act

  • The ID pushes our inner desires

  • The SUPEREGO considers what is allowed or forbidden (superego), and also who we would ideally like to be (ego ideal).

  • The EGO balances this within the realm of possibility.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Handling Dangerous Materials

  • When the ID pushes forth an unacceptable impulse, or when something awful happens that a person cannot handle, the EGO may push it back into the unconscious and REPRESS it.

  • Repression is the basis of all defense mechanisms, and it itself is an unconscious process that happens automatically.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Repression and Psychological Blindspots

  • Freud would say that the reason we do not really know ourselves is due to the fact that we repress (unconsciously) much of what we do not like about ourselves, or found threatening at some point in our lives.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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When Repressed Material Resurfaces

  • Repressed material or drives often tries to resurface. It may appear in dreams, behaviors (ex: missing an appointment, losing an object), or the EGO may disguise them through defense mechanisms.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Defense Mechanisms

  • Defense mechanisms are a way the EGO transforms unacceptable material from the ID, so it will get by the SUPEREGO.

  • The creation of defense mechanisms is an unconscious process.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Defense Mechanisms Build Civilization

  • Sublimation thought Freud is responsible for scientific and artistic endeavours, for the building of cathedrals and skyscrapers, and all the accomplishments of civilization.

  • Other defense mechanisms can be more or less useful, depending on their frequency and the form they take.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Some Other Defense Mechanisms

  • Denial

  • Reaction formation

  • Projection

  • Rationalization

  • Displacement

  • Regression

  • Link to a more complete list and examples

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Freud and the theory of recapitulation

  • The id, for Freud, reflected a more primitive way of thinking. Primitive societies function more according to the id.

  • The superego builds civilization.

  • The child reflects this species development in his/her own development.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Personality and Development

  • Sometimes a given stage was particularly rewarding, and thus marked personality development (ex: dependent oral personality, orderly anal personality)

  • The phallic stage is the most difficult because it is about the sorting out of gender roles and family relationships.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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The Phallic Stage

  • When recounting childhood memories, many of Freud’s patients recalled sexual interactions with an adult.

  • First at first believed this, but later came to the opinion that these “memories” were in fact imaginary.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Stages of Development

  • Oral (incorporative and aggressive)

  • Anal (aggressive and retentive)

  • Phallic (Oedipus [boys] and Electra [girls] conflicts)

  • Latency

  • Genital

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Childhood Seduction

  • Were Freud’s patients in fact abused? Were their memories real?

  • Current controversy:

    • About Jeffrey Masson’s work

    • Jeffrey Masson himself

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Death and life

  • In the later part of his career, Freud also emphasized the notion of LIFE instinct or EROS (in which he subsumed the LIBIDO -lit: I want- issuing from the ID)

  • He also developed the concept of DEATH instinct or THANATOS, a deep destructive tendency. In final analysis, he said, life is a detour toward death.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Freud and Anna, his Daughter (1895-1982)

  • Anna brought Freudian concepts to her work with children.

  • Used play materials, drawings, home observation

  • Stressed the concept of therapeutic alliance

  • Expanded the role of the Ego and Ego defense mechanisms

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Melanie Klein (1882-1960)

  • Better known in Europe than in the US, one of the pioneers in child therapy, especially projective play therapy and drawings.

  • Emphasizes the role of fantasy even in infancy: the baby interprets what is happening, viewing things from his/her limited perspective.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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  • The baby perceives any pain or frustration as coming from a hostile world, and is angry and hostile in return at the “bad mother”

  • Also, the baby develop “good” inner objects when gratified, and is happy.

  • Eventually, the child puts things together into an understanding of the mother as one person.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Object Relations Theory

  • The infant forms a number of inner-objects. From his/her relations with these objects, personality characteristics progressively develop.

  • Melanie Klein is a founder of the currently quite popular Object Relations Theory.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Margaret Mahler (1897-1985)

  • Margaret Mahler --who worked with severely autistic children-- became interested in the process of INDIVIDUATION, that is to say of the child’s development of a separate self --distinct from the mother.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Individuation (Mahler)

  • The child starts completely absorbed in the mother (normal autism)

  • Then comes a stage of symbiosis

  • The child then starts to separate

  • After a while, there is “rapprochement”, a coming back together

  • And finally a developed self (around 3)

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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Mahler and Freud

  • Mahler’s stages can be harmonized with Freud’s oral and anal stages.

  • Mahler considered herself to be in the psychoanalytic tradition.

© Lucie Johnson 2003

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The End



© Lucie Johnson 2003

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