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Psychoanalytic Perspective. Definition. Sees behavior as determined partly by inner forces that lie outside one’s awareness and control Role of the unconscious. History. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) Viennese neurologist

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  • Sees behavior as determined partly by inner forces that lie outside one’s awareness and control
  • Role of the unconscious
  • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
    • Viennese neurologist
    • Directed people to talk freely while under hypnosis – when they would awake they would feel significant emotional release (catharsis)
      • Helped patients discharge emotional baggage and showed the therapist the nature of the difficulties preceding the problems
history cont
History (cont.)
  • Freud’s theory shocked the scientific world when it was first proposed
    • Freud believed that humans, by nature, are similar to primitive animals
      • Even in infancy, we are motivated primarily by sexual and aggressive urges
topography of the mind
Topography of the Mind
  • Conscious – The part of the mind that holds what you’re aware of now
  • Preconscious – Represents ordinary memory (can easily be brought to awareness)
  • Unconscious – Part of the mind that’s not directly accessible to awareness
  • A repository for urges, feelings, and ideas that are tied to anxiety, conflict, or pain
    • Though they are out of conscious awareness, they continually exert influence on one’s conscious experience
  • Motivating forces of the personality; sources of stimulation within the body
    • Instinctual goal is to reduce or remove need for stimulation through some behavior (ex. Eating, drinking, sex)
instincts cont
Instincts (cont.)
  • Choice vs. Determinism
    • Freud asserted that people are at the mercy of forces that are unconscious and uncontrollable
    • We may be able to temporarily delay gratification of these urges until a socially appropriate time (a sign of a mature personality), although these urges will never be completely repressed
      • Drive states build up until an action causes their tension to be released or until repression of the drive states leads to anxiety
life instincts eros
Life Instincts (Eros)
  • Concerned with self-preservation and the survival of the species
    • Include hunger, thirst, and sex
    • The form of energy through which life instincts are manifested is called the libido
death instinct thanatos
Death Instinct (Thanatos)
  • Can be directed inward (masochism or suicide) or outward (hatred and aggression)
  • Aggression as a motivator is better received by psychoanalysts than is the death instinct
levels of personality
Levels of Personality
  • Freud saw personality as having 3 aspects that work together to produce complex human behavior.
  • Labels for 3 aspects of functioning: id, ego, and superego
  • Present at birth
  • Inherited, instinctive aspect of personality
  • Functions entirely in the unconscious
  • Tied to biological processes
  • Adheres to the Pleasure Principle – the idea that needs need to be satisfied immediately
  • Unrealistic
  • Focuses on ensuring that id impulses are expressed effectively by taking into account the external world
  • Rational – considers consequences of immediate id fulfillment
  • Wants the id’s urges satisfied, but to be satisfied at an appropriate time and in a realistic manner
  • Decides what’s right and wrong
  • Strives for perfection, not pleasure
  • Stems from parental and societal values
  • 3 goals of superego:
    • Inhibit all id urges that society would dislike
    • Force the ego to act morally, not rationally
    • Guide person toward perfection in every aspect
assessment of personality
Assessment of Personality
  • Hypnosis
  • Free Association – having patients talk freely about themselves; providing information about their feelings, motives, etc.
  • Dream Analysis
  • Resistance – Patient’s fighting against becoming aware of conflicts and impulses
  • Transference – Feelings about others are displaced onto the therapist
assessment cont
Assessment (cont.)
  • Projective techniques – no right or wrong answers; responses are determined primarily by their own feelings, attitudes, desires, and needs
    • Assumes that what is projected is beyond the person’s conscious control and reflects the unconscious
    • Examples… T.A.T., Rorschach

Occurs simultaneously with the assessment process

  • 3 main goals of therapy
    • A less constricted id
    • A stronger ego
    • A more human super-ego
psychosexual stages of development
Psychosexual Stages of Development
  • Freud maintained that the adult personality was formed almost completely by age 5
  • With age, personality stabilizes and is expressed more symbolically than literally
  • Stages of development reflect a body area through which libido, or sexual energy, is discharged through that period
  • Each stage builds on previous ones
  • If needs aren’t adequately met at each stage, fixation may occur
  • May occur for 2 reasons
    • If overindulgent in a stage, may be reluctant to leave it and move on
    • If needs aren’t met in a stage, can’t move on until those needs are met
  • If conflict isn’t well resolved, too much libido gets permanently invested in that stage
    • Less energy is then available to handle conflicts in later stages
oral stage birth 18 months
Oral Stage (birth-18 months)
  • Libido gratification occurs through the mouth and lips
  • Orally fixated?
    • Obesity, alcoholism
    • Highly motivated to gain closeness and support from others
    • Sensitive to how others react to them
    • Sensitive to social isolation and subtle cues of rejection
    • Use more physical contact during social interaction
anal stage 18 months 3 years
Anal Stage (18 months-3 years)
  • Sexual pleasure comes from stimulation gained from defecation – must hold back urge until an appropriate time
  • Anally fixated?
    • Stinginess
    • Obstinacy
    • Orderliness
phallic stage 3 5 yrs
Phallic Stage (3 – 5 yrs)
  • Oedipal conflict?
    • Men may go to great lengths to prove they haven’t been castrated (seducing lots of women, fathering lots of kids, attaining career success)
    • May fail in sexual and/or occupational lives because of guilt over competing for mother’s love
  • Electra conflict?
    • Women may be excessively seductive and flirtatious, but with denial or the underlying sexuality
      • Excites men with seductive behavior and then is surprised when men want sexual contact with her
  • Period in which self-stimulation emerges
  • Oedipus/Electra complex
latency period 6 yrs early teens
Latency Period (6 yrs - Early Teens)
  • Sexual and aggressive drives are less active
  • Emergence of ego and superego
  • Attention turned toward other pursuits (intellectual or social)
    • Experiences are broadened until…..puberty
genital stage late adolescence adult
Genital Stage (Late Adolescence-Adult)
  • If earlier stages were handled well, a desire develops to share mutual sexual gratification with someone else
  • The person becomes capable of loving others not only for selfish reasons but also for altruistic reasons
  • Plays a causal role in most forms of psychopathology
  • Is a warning of real or imagined dangers that forces one to take corrective action
  • Healthy: The ego can cope with anxiety in a rational way;
  • Neurotic: Can’t deal with anxiety rationally; resort to irrational protective measures
defense mechanisms
Defense Mechanisms
  • Discharge or soothe anxiety temporarily by pushing painful ideas out of consciousness
  • Result in distorted view of reality
  • Repression, Denial, Projection, Rationalization, Intellectualization, Reaction Formation, Regression, Displacement, and Sublimation
healthy personality
Healthy Personality
  • Behavior is not dominated by defense mechanisms
  • Good childhood: Handled early psychosexual stages successfully, thereby, limiting the strength of fixations
  • Well-developed ego able to cope effectively with the external world
  • Superego with constructive, not punitive ideals
unhealthy personality
Unhealthy Personality
  • Sexually frustrated: sexual urges have been repressed and transformed into neurotic symptoms
  • Overinvestment of energies in a fixation from early childhood
  • Dominated by defense mechanisms
    • Ties up too much energy – is unable to effectively meet new challenges
  • Freud’s data collection was unsystematic and uncontrolled – may have reinterpreted them
  • Interpretation – Inferences need to be made
  • Inequality of gender – Females inherently feel inferior to men because of anatomical differences
  • Emphasis on biological forces (sex) as determinants of personality
  • Denial of free will
  • Time consuming
  • Difficult to study/measure
  • Focus on past behavior – excluded future hopes and goals
  • Theory was based on neurotics – ignored emotionally healthy people
  • Popular/interesting
  • It works – Psychoanalysts use a different criteria for success…insight
  • Analysis of 2,500 studies examined the scientific credibility of Freud’s theory
    • Some anal/oral personality types
    • Castration anxiety
    • Dream reflect emotional concerns
    • Unconscious thoughts, emotions, and behavior
  • Carson, R.C., Butcher, J.N., & Mineka, S. (2000). Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life, Eleventh Edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
  • Carver, C.S., & Scheier, M.F. (2000). Perspectives on Personality, Fourth Edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
  • Schultz, D.P., & Schultz, S.E. (2000). A History of Modern Psychology, Seventh Edition. Philadelphia: Harcourt College Publishers.
  • Nelson-Jones, R. (2001). Theory and Practice of Counseling & Therapy, Third edition.
  • Prout, H.T., Brown, D.T. (1983). Counseling and Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents: Theory and Practice for School and Clinic Settings.