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Psychoanalytic Perspective. “Depth perspectives” Motivation, Human needs, Unconscious, Fulfillment, Psychological Adjustment, etc. Psychoanalytic Perspective. What makes us do what we do? Can you even know why you do what you do? Can your mind fool itself? If so, why?

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psychoanalytic perspective

Psychoanalytic Perspective

“Depth perspectives”

Motivation, Human needs, Unconscious, Fulfillment, Psychological Adjustment, etc

psychoanalytic perspective2
Psychoanalytic Perspective
  • What makes us do what we do?
  • Can you even know why you do what you do?
  • Can your mind fool itself? If so, why?
  • What’s the purpose of society and religion?
  • What’s the purpose of dreams and humor?
  • Why talk about Freud, anyway?
psychoanalytic themes
Psychoanalytic Themes
  • Unconscious vs conscious processes
  • Conflict – “Intrapsychic” and Interpersonal
  • Motivation – pleasure and aggression
  • Impulsiveness vs self-control
  • Irrationality, free will
  • Anxiety
  • Childhood
  • Biology vs Society
psychoanalytic perspective4
Psychoanalytic Perspective
  • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
    • Vienna, Austria
    • 1900 – published “The Interpretation of Dreams”
    • Directly “trained” - Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Erik Erikson, Anna Freud
    • “Freud, like Elvis, has been dead for a number of years but continues to be cited with some regularity” D. Westen (1998), Psychological Bulletin
psychoanalytic perspective5
Psychoanalytic Perspective
  • Outline
    • Topographical model of the mind
    • Structural model of personality
    • Thin line between conscious and unconscious
    • Defense mechanisms
    • Personality development
    • Contemporary Psychoanalytic perspectives
psychoanalytic perspective topographical model of the mind
Psychoanalytic PerspectiveTopographical Model of the Mind
  • The mind has 3 layers of depth:
  • 1) Conscious – what we are aware of at a given moment
  • 2) Preconscious – what we are not currently aware of, but can be with a bit of effort
  • 3) Unconscious – the vast, deep layers of the personality. Material that’s deeply hidden from our awareness
psychoanalytic perspective topographical model of the mind7
Psychoanalytic PerspectiveTopographical Model of the Mind
  • Unconscious – the vast, deep layers of the personality.
    • Material that’s deeply hidden from our awareness.
    • Thoughts, motivations, desires, fears, feelings
    • Information that would be painful to realize about the self
    • The real motivations for our behavior
psychoanalytic perspective structural model of personality
Psychoanalytic PerspectiveStructural Model of Personality
  • The personality has three parts
    • Id
    • Ego
    • Superego
psychoanalytic perspective structural model of personality10
Psychoanalytic PerspectiveStructural Model of Personality
  • Id
    • What does a baby do?
    • When does it do these things?
    • What happens if it can’t do these things?
  • Oriented toward immediate unconditional gratification of desires
  • Libido, “pleasure principle”
  • In the unconscious; Irrational
psychoanalytic perspective structural model of personality11
Psychoanalytic PerspectiveStructural Model of Personality
  • Can we get away with this immediate impulse satisfaction?
  • Ego
  • Deals with reality - “reality principle”
  • Has to negotiate demands of the id with the reality of living in society.
  • In the conscious; rational
psychoanalytic perspective structural model of personality12
Psychoanalytic PerspectiveStructural Model of Personality
  • Superego
  • Moral center - “should”, “should not”
  • We internalize the moral code of our society
  • Guilt
  • Partly conscious and partly unconscious
  • Irrational striving for moral perfection
psychoanalytic perspective thin line between the conscious and unconscious
Psychoanalytic PerspectiveThin line Between the conscious and unconscious
  • Sometimes our unconscious thoughts, etc slip into the conscious.
  • How?
    • “Freudian slips”
    • Dreams
    • Humor
  • How does the ego prevent this from happening?
psychoanalytic perspective defense mechanisms
Psychoanalytic PerspectiveDefense mechanisms
  • Ego defends itself from material that would be threatening, damaging, distressful to your self-concept.
  • To avoid anxiety, ego distorts reality
  • Defense Mechanisms
psychoanalytic perspective defense mechanisms20
Psychoanalytic PerspectiveDefense mechanisms
  • Repression - keep the material out of awareness
  • Projection – You believe that another person has the feelings/beliefs that you’re repressing.
  • Reaction Formation – You express the opposite of your true (unconscious) thoughts
  • Sublimation - Repressed energy finds outlet in acceptable, creative ways
psychoanalytic perspective personality development
Psychoanalytic PerspectivePersonality Development
  • “Psychosexual” theory of personality development
  • Stages
    • At each stage, child focuses libido on a bodily location
    • In normal dev., libido shifts to different locations
    • In abnormal dev, libido does NOT shift – gets fixated, stuck at a certain stage of development.
    • How could a child become fixated at a certain point?
    • Too much gratification or too little gratification.
psychoanalytic perspective personality development22
Psychoanalytic PerspectivePersonality Development
  • The progression (or fixation) of libido determines adult personality adjustment
  • At every stage:
    • Physical focus – Where the libido is focused
    • Psychological Theme – Emerges from conflict with parents
    • Adult personality type – if the person is fixated at the stage
psychoanalytic perspective personality development23
Psychoanalytic PerspectivePersonality Development
  • “Psychosexual” Stages of development
    • Oral
    • Anal
    • Phallic
    • Latency
    • Genital
psychoanalytic perspective personality development24
Psychoanalytic PerspectivePersonality Development
  • Stage Age Focus Theme Personality
  • Oral 0-1.5 yrs Mouth Dependency Too passive OR Too independent
  • Anal 1.5-3 yrs Anus Self-control, Over-controlled, obedient obedience OR Under-controlled- disorganized, rebellious
  • Phallic 4-5 yrs Penis Gender, Overly-sexual OR (Oedipal crisis) morality Asexual Latency 6-12 yrs -none- Social life -none- beyond family
  • Genital Puberty Genitals Enhancement Psychological adjustment to adult of life
contemporary psychoanalysis
Contemporary Psychoanalysis
  • “Orthodox” Freudian Theory has been severely criticized as...
    • Non-scientific
    • Derived from clinical observations
    • Sexist & culturally limited
    • Just plain wrong!
    • Among other things....
contemporary psychoanalysis27
Contemporary Psychoanalysis
  • “Many aspects of Freudian theory are indeed out of date, and they should be: Freud died in 1939, and he has been slow to undertake any revisions” D. Westen (1998), Psychological Bulletin
  • 5 Basic postulates of “comtemporary” Psychoanalytic theory
  • D. Westen (1998), Psychological Bulletin
contemporary psychoanalysis28
Contemporary Psychoanalysis
  • 5 Basic postulates of “comtemporary” Psychoanalytic theory

1) Unconscious plays a large role in life

2) Behavior often reflects compromises in conflicts between mental process (e.g., emotions, motivations, thoughts)

contemporary psychoanalysis29
Contemporary Psychoanalysis

3) Childhood is important in personality development (esp, for later relationships)

4) Mental representations of the self and relationships guide our interactions with others

5) Personallity development means moving from an immature, dependent relationship style to a mature, independent relationship style.

psychoanalysis contributions
Psychoanalysis - contributions?
  • Unconscious vs conscious processes
  • Conflict – “Intrapsychic” and Interpersonal
  • Motivation - pleasure seeking & destructiveness
  • Impulsiness vs control
  • Anxiety & adjustment
  • Childhood
psychoanalysis contributions31
Psychoanalysis - contributions?
  • Therapy, Art, Literature, Sociology, Religion, Politics, etc.
  • Life/CNN - 16th most influential person of last millennium. Interp of Dreams - 35th most influential event of the millennium
frued s love of aniquities
Frued’s love of aniquities
  • "had made many sacrifices for his collection of Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquities and had in fact read more archaeology than psychology".
"...statuettes and images help fix evanescant ideas or prevent them disappearing completely."
"In face of the incompleteness of my analytic results, I had no choice but to follow the example of those discoverers whose good fortune it is to bring to the light of day after their long burial the priceless though mutilated relics of antiquity. I have restored what is missing, taking the best models known to me from the other analyses; but, like a conscientious archaeologist, I have not omitted to mention in each case where the authentic parts end and my constructions begin."
under the protection of athena
under the protection of Athena"
  • Free of the Nazi’s
  • Moved to england 1938 with influenced Roosevelt


  • Herman Rorschach, a Swiss psychiatrist, was the first to suggest (1911) the use of inkblot responses as a diagnostic instrument
    • In 1921 he published his book on the test, Psychodiagnostik (and soon thereafter died, age 38)

Administering the Rorschach

  • The cards are shown twice
    • The first time responses are obtained - free association phase
    • The second time they are elaborated – inquiry phase
    • The test administrator asks about:
      • i.) Location: Where did the subject see each item?
        • A location chart is used to mark location
        • W = whole; D = Common detail; Dd = Unusual detail; DW = Confabulatory response
      • ii.) Determinant: What determined the response?
        • Form (F)?
        • Perceived movement? Human (M); Animal (FM); Inanimate (m)
        • Color (C); shading (T = texture)

Administering the Rorschach

  • The test administrator asks about:
    • iii.) Form quality: How well-matched is the response to the blot?
      • F+ = good match; F = match; F- = poor match
    • iv.) Content: What was seen?
      • Human (H); animal (A); nature (N)?
    • The test administrator also scores popularity/originality: How frequently is the percept seen?
      • Norm books are available (i.e. Exner, 1974) [but not always well-received in clinical settings]

Examples of Projectives

  • Rorschach Inkblot Technique
    • Developed in 1921 by ???
    • The story
    • Main assumption:
    • Administration & inquiry



Response to Inkblot

and the World


Exner’s Comprehensive Scoring System

1. location

- W = whole (intellectual potential)

- D = subdivisions (common sense)

- Dd = details (compulsive tendencies)

2. content

- people, part of a person, clothing, animal, part of an animal, nature, anatomical


1. Rorschach (cont.)

3. determinants

- F = shape/outline (rational approach)

- M = movement (imagination)

- C = color (emotional reactions)

- Y = shades of grey (depression)

4. typical vs. unusual response

5. time


1. Rorschach (cont.)

  • norms = unrepresentative
  • cultural bias
  • inter-rater reliability
  • test-retest reliability
  • construct validity
  • criterion validity
  • incremental validity
  • problem of response frequency

Examples of Projectives

  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

Construct a story about what you see on the following picture


- what led up to the scene

- what is happening

- what the characters in the story might think or feel

- how the story will end


2. TAT (cont.)

  • Murray (1938): psychodynamic theory of needs
  • Dramatic yet ambiguous drawings and photographs
  • The assumption
  • The administration
    • 20 cards (31 total) in 2 sessions
    • A test of imagination
    • Must include the 4 points above
    • An x-ray of the inner self

2. TAT (cont.)

  • A bit enthusiastic method?
    • Expressed a latent need or a current event/concern in your life?
    • Active imagination?
  • Hard to evaluate

2. TAT (cont.)

  • Administration: not standardized
    • Not the same 20 cards
    • Not the same order
    • Seldom 2 sessions
    • Instructions differ
    • Sometimes not even the actual TAT cards
  • Reliability & validity
  • Need for achievement validity

Psychodynamic Aspects of Personality

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) – developed first

comprehensive theory of personality.

Neurologist – encountered patients with a wide

range of psychological disturbances.

A particularly perplexing disorder was “hysteria.”

Jean Martin Charcot – French neurologist.


Topographic Model (1900)

  • Uses the metaphor of a mind split into sections
  • that divided mental processes into three types:
  • Conscious
  • Preconscious
  • Unconscious


  • Rational, goal directed thoughts at the centre of our
  • awareness.
  • Preconscious
  • Not conscious but could become conscious at any
  • point.
  • Unconscious
  • Inaccessible to consciousness.

Conflict and Ambivalence

Ambivalence – conflicting feelings or motives.

Conflict – a tension or battle between opposing motives.

The more conflict and ambivalence a person experiences, the more anxiety, depression, physical complaints.


Drive Model

Freud’s topographic model addressed conflict between conscious and unconscious motives.

His second model, the drive or instinct model, was Freud’s model of what drives or motivates people.

Influenced by the work of Charles Darwin – Freud believed that humans are motivated by instincts.


Developmental Model (1933)

Considered the development of the libidinal drive the key to personality development.

Hence, he proposed a theory of psychosexual development.

At each stage, libido is focused on a different part of the body, or erogenous zone (region of the body that can generate sexual pleasure).


Oral stage (first 18 months of life)

  • During the oral stage, children experience the world
  • through their mouths.
  • From a broader perspective, children develop wishes
  • and expectations about dependence.
  • Fixations – conflicts or concerns that persist beyond
  • the developmental period in which they arise.

Anal stage (ages 2 to 3)

  • Characterized by conflicts with parents about
  • compliance vs. defiance.
  • Freud argued that these conflicts form the basis of
  • attitudes toward order and disorder.

Persons with anal fixations often exhibit certain behaviours.

On the one hand:

Overly neat, tidy, punctual

On the other hand:

Messy, stubborn, late

People can also regress to anal or oral stages under times of stress.


Phallic Stage (ages 4 to 6)

  • Children enjoy the pleasure they can obtain from
  • touching their genitals.
  • More broadly, during the phallic stage, the child
  • identifies with significant others, especially the
  • same-sex parent.
  • Identification – making another person part of
  • oneself.

Identification has many roots.

Freud emphasized its link to the Oedipus complex.

The Oedipus complex refers to Freud’s hypothesis that little boys want an exclusive relationship with their mothers.

Conversely, little girls want an exclusive relationships with their fathers.

Castration complex

Penis envy


Latency stage (ages 7 to 11)

  • During the latency stage, children repress their
  • sexual impulses and continue to identify with their
  • same-sex parent.
  • Genital stage (ages 12+)
  • During the genital stage, conscious sexuality
  • resurfaces after years of repression, and sex
  • becomes a primary goal.

Structural Model (1923)

The structural model posits three sets of mental forces, or structures:

Id – pleasure principle, primary process thinking

Ego – reality principle, secondary process thinking

Superego - conscience


Defense Mechanisms

According to Freud, people regulate emotions and

deal with conflict by employing defense mechanisms

– unconscious mental processes aimed at protecting

the person from unpleasant emotions.


1. Repression

  • Keeps thoughts or memories that would be too threatening to acknowledge from awareness.
  • 2. Denial
  • Unwilling to recognize reality or emotions.
  • Projection
  • A person attributes his own unacknowledged
  • feelings or impulses to others

4. Reaction formation

  • Turn unacceptable feelings or impulses into their
  • opposites.
  • Regression
  • Reverting to modes of managing emotion
  • characteristic of an earlier age.
  • Rationalization
  • Explain away actions in a seemingly logical way to
  • avoid uncomfortable feelings.


  • Feel impulse and want to express it but can’t so
  • express it on someone else.
  • Sublimation
  • Changing unacceptable urges into socially approved
  • ones.

Aspects of personality that have received

  • widespread support:
  • Unconscious processes
  • Ambivalence and conflict
  • Childhood experiences in shaping adult interpersonal patterns.
  • Mental representations of the self and others
  • The development of the capacity to regulate impulses and to become independent.
  • Human thought and action has lots of meaning

Major limitations

Inadequate basis in empirical testing

Hard to prove or to falsify

Female development.

Overemphasis on sex and aggression.


Humanistic Tradition

Focuses on the person – the abilities that a person brings.

Freedom of choice and free will.

Create our own lives and determine our own destinies rather than being shaped by forces outside our control.


Heavy role of conscious rather than unconscious experience.

Chief leaders: Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Rollo May

Rejected psychoanalysis – hostility, conflicts, instincts.

Rejected behaviourists – learning, reinforcement, conditioning.


Examples of Projectives

  • Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank (RISB)
    • Developed in 1950 by …….
    • Best standardized, most objective projective

Complete the following sentences to express your real feelings:

    • I like ……..
    • My greatest fear ……..
    • This PY 370 instructor is ……..
psychodynamic model
Psychodynamic Model
  • Assumption:
    • Knowledge of underlying unconscious motivations and drives is necessary to understand behavior.
  • Focuses on the conflict between unconscious drives and environmental restrictions that prevent satisfaction of drives and urges.

Chapter 1

  • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
  • First to focus on abnormal behavior
  • Emphasized unconscious influences on behavior.
    • Detailed case studies
    • Free association
    • Dream analysis

Chapter 1