Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

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Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

Psychoanalytic theory originated with the work of Sigmund Freud. Through his clinical work with patients suffering from mental illness, Freud came to believe that childhood experiences and unconscious desires influenced behavior. Based on his observations, he developed a theory that described development in terms of a series of psychosexual stages. According to Freud, conflicts that occur during each of these stages can have a lifelong influence on personality and behavior. Psychoanalytic theory was an enormously influential force during the first half of the twentieth century. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

Those inspired and influenced by Freud went on to expand upon Freud’s ideas and develop theories of their own. It is important to be clear about the meanings of certain terms that you may come across and throughout the handout you will find footnotes clarifying certain terms. Firstly though, a word about the terms psychoanalysis and psychodynamics. Psychoanalysis refers to both Freud’s original attempt at providing a comprehensive theory of the mind and also to the associated treatment. The term encompasses both Freudian theory and therapy. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

You will also come across the term psychodynamics. This term is used to denote the approach which began with psychoanalysis but which has now broadened into a much more diverse collection of theories and models developed by other psychologists, all of which nevertheless retain some of the main ideas of Freud’s original theory. 1. 8. 1 BACKGROUND Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 in Moravia, which was then part of the Austrian Empire and is now in the Czech Republic. He spent most of his life in Vienna, from where he fled, in 1937, when the Nazis invaded.

Neither Freud (being Jewish) or his theories were very popular with the Nazis and he escaped to London where he died in 1939. He had wanted to be a research scientist but anti-Semitism forced him to choose a medical career instead and he worked in Vienna as a doctor, specialising in neurological disorders (disorders of the nervous system). He constantly revised and modified his theories right up until his death but much of his psychoanalytic theory was produced between 1900 and 1930. Freud originally attempted to explain the workings of the mind in terms of physiology and neurology …Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

(but)… quite early on in his treatment of patients with neurological disorders, Freud realised that symptoms which had no organic or bodily basis could imitate the real thing and that they were as real for the patient as if they had been neurologically caused. So he began to search for psychological explanations of these symptoms and ways of treating them. In 1885 he spent a year in Paris learning hypnosis from the neurologist Charcot; he then started using hypnosis with his patients in Vienna.

However, he found its effects to be only temporary at best and it did not usually get to the root of the problem; nor was everybody capable of being hypnotised. Meanwhile Breuer, another Viennese doctor, was developing another method of therapy which he called the cathartic method, where patients would talk out their problems. Freud adopted Breuer’s method and called it free association which became one of the three fundamental tools of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

Freud began his self-analysis during the 1890s and in 1900 published The Interpretation of Dreams, in which he outlined his theory of the mind, followed by The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1904), A Case of Hysteria and Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905). Two of Freud’s closest colleagues, Carl Jung and Alfred Adler, helped him form the psychoanalytic movement and the first International Psychoanalytic Congress was held in Salzburg in 1908. The Journal of Psychoanalysis was first published in 1909 and, in that year, Freud and Jung made a lecture tour of the USA.

(From Gross, R (1996) Psychology, The Science of Mind and Behaviour, page 508) 1. 8. 2 FREUD’S STRUCTURE OF PERSONALITY Freud compared the human personality to an iceberg. The small part that shows above the surface of the water represents conscious experience ; the much larger mass below the water level represents the unconscious – a storehouse of impulses, passions, and inaccessible memories that affect our thoughts and behaviour. It is this portion of the mind that Freud sought to explore with the use of free association. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

Freud also believed that personality was composed of three major systems: the id, the ego and the superego. Each system has its own functions but the three interact to govern behaviour. (a) The id The id is the most primitive part of the personality and the first to develop. It is present in the newborn infant. It is located in the unconscious and it is from the id that the ego and the superego later develop. The id consists of the basic biological impulses (or drives): the need to eat, drink, eliminate wastes, avoid pain and gain sexual pleasure. Freud also believed that aggression was a basic biological drive.

The id seeks immediate gratification of these impulses. Like a young child, the id operates on the pleasure principle : it endeavours to avoid pain and obtain pleasure regardless of the external circumstances. (b) The ego As the child develops it learns that their impulses cannot always be immediately gratified. Some must be delayed (for example, hunger must wait until someone provides food) and some (for example, hitting someone) may be punished. A new part of the personality, the ego, develops as the young child learns to consider the demands of reality. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

The ego constitutes our conscious self and obeys the reality principle : It is essentially the part of personality that decides what actions are appropriate and which id impulses will be satisfied in what manner. The ego mediates among the demands of the id, the realities of the world and the demands of the superego. (c) The superego The superego, is the internalised representation of the values and morals of society as taught to the child by the parents and others. It is essentially the individuals conscience. The superego decides whether an action is right or wrong.

Initially, parents control a child’s behaviour directly by reward and punishment. Through the incorporation of parental standards into the superego, behaviour is brought under self-control. The superego develops in response to parental rewards and punishments. In summary, the id seeks pleasure, the ego tests reality and mediates, the superego constrains and strives for perfection. Not surprisingly, the three components of personality are in constant conflict: the ego postpones the gratification the id wants immediately and the superego battles with both because behaviour often falls short of the moral code it represents. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

1. 8. 3 MANAGING THE CONFLICT In order to deal with this conflict, the ego develops a series of defence mechanisms which allow it to protect itself from the pressures of the id, the real world and the superego. Examples are: Repression – burying a memory so thoroughly that it is not recalled at all – “it never happened”. Projection – attributing own unwanted “bad” feelings or ideas to another person. Rationalisation – making up a reasonable excuse for unacceptable behaviour and really believing it.

Suppression – forgetting a shocking event on purpose: (consciously in this case) putting it out of one’s mind. Denial – refusing to acknowledge something because it is so distressing. Displacement – transferring feelings from one person or object to another. Identification – imitating someone who is admired and modelling oneself on them. Reaction-Formation – consciously substituting the opposite emotion for true feelings about someone/something. Freud believed that conflict is inevitable and all behaviour is a compromise. Conflict is the primary cause of human anxiety and unhappiness. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

Defence mechanisms are one way we have of dealing with our inner conflict; neurotic symptoms and dreaming are the other major forms of compromise. 1. 8. 4 THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY Freud believed that the individual, during the first five years of life, progresses through several developmental stages that affect personality. Applying a broad definition of sexuality, he called these periods psychosexual stages. During each stage, the pleasure-seeking impulses of the id focus on, and derive pleasure from, a particular area of the body and on activities connected with that area.

Freud called the first year of life the oral stage of psychosexual development. During this period, infants derive pleasure from nursing and sucking; in fact, they will put anything they can reach into their mouth. During the second year of life, the anal stage, as children have their first experience with imposed control in the form of their toilet training. In the phallic stage, from about age 3 to age 6, children focus on their genitals. They observe the differences between males and females and may direct their awakening sexual impulses toward the parent of the opposite sex.

It is at this stage that children have to resolve the Oedipus and Electra complexes. A latency period follows the end of the phallic stage, during which children become less concerned with their bodies and turn their attention to the skills needed for coping with the environment. The last stage, the genital stage, occurs during adolescence, during which young people begin to turn their sexual interests toward others and to love in a more mature way. Freud felt that special problems at any stage could arrest (or fixate) development and have a lasting effect on the individual’s personality. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

The libido would remain attached to the activities appropriate for that stage. Thus a person who was weaned very early and did not have enough sucking pleasure might become fixated at the oral stage. As an adult, this person may be excessively dependent on others and overly fond of such oral pleasures as eating, drinking and smoking. Such a person is called an “oral” personality. The person fixated at the anal stage of psychosexual development may be abnormally concerned with cleanliness, orderliness, and saving. 1. 8. 5 MODIFICATIONS OF FREUD’S THEORIES

Later psychoanalysts felt that Freud placed too much emphasis on the instinctive and biological aspects of personality and failed to recognise that people are products of the society in which they live. The neo-Freudians including Alfred Adler, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, Carl Jung and Harry Stack Sullivan, considered personality to be shaped more by the people, society, and culture surrounding the individual than by biological needs. They placed less emphasis on the controlling power of the unconscious, believing that people are more rational in their planing and decisions than Freud thought.

1. 8. 6 PSYCHOANALYTIC THERAPY The aim of psychoanalytic therapy is to bring about a fundamental change in the patient’s personality so that he is released from his neurotic disorders. Freud believed that neurosis was caused by the repression of disturbing feelings and emotions associated with conflicts established in early childhood. These conflicts result from the impulses of the id or the strictures of an over demanding superego. He assumed that the patient’s ego was too weak to cope with such conflicts and defended itself by repressing them into the unconscious.

However, conflicts do not go away; they find expression through the symptoms and neurotic behaviour of the patients. The aims of psychoanalysis are to remove the infantile conflict from the unconscious and help the patient deal with it at a conscious level. Psychoanalytic therapy normally has two stages: 1. the release of repression, thereby allowing the conflict to enter consciousness, and, 2. the redirection of the emotional energy (libido) associated with the repression thereby allowing the patient’s ego to gain control of the conflict. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

Freud developed various techniques for getting round the controlling forces of the defence mechanisms to reveal the unconscious material which is trying to gain expression. One of the original methods employed by Freud was hypnosis, but as has already been mentioned, he found this technique unsatisfactory and soon began using free association. Later Carl Jung, one of Freud’s students developed a similar technique known as word association , and both methods are still widely used in present-day psychoanalysis.

Another technique for getting at unconscious material is the interpretation of dreams . Another route into the unconscious is via the errors of everyday life, so-called Freudian slips. Present day psychoanalysts also regard certain physiological cues such as posture, blushing or pallor and changes in the timbre of the patient’s voice as important expressions of unconscious motives and feelings. 1. 8. 7 AN EVALUATION OF THE PSYCHOANALYTIC APPROACH Psychoanalytic theory has had an enormous impact on psychological and philosophical conceptions of human nature. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

Freud’s major contributions are his recognition that unconscious needs and conflicts motivate much of out behaviour and his emphasis on the importance of early childhood experiences in personality development. His emphasis on sexual factors led to an awareness of their role in adjustment problems. But Freud made his observations during the Victorian period when sexual standards were very strict; so it is understandable that many of his patient’s conflicts centred on their sexual desires. Today, feelings of guilt about sex are much less frequent, yet the incidence of mental illness remains about the same.

Sexual conflicts are not the only cause of personality disturbances – and may not even be a major cause. Some critics also point out that Freud’s theory of personality is based almost entirely on his observations of emotionally disturbed patients and may not be an appropriate of the normal, healthy personality. In addition, many of Freud’s ideas were decidedly sexist. For example, his theory that female psychosexual development is shaped by “penis envy” and feelings of unworthiness due to the lack of such equipment is certainly inadequate in view of our current awareness of the role that social factors play in gender identification.

It was probably not her brother’s penis that a little girl during the Victorian era envied but his greater independence power and social status. Although psychoanalysis has exerted a powerful influence on our thinking about human nature, it has been seriously questioned as a scientific theory. Freud’s constructs are ambiguous and difficult to define. He does not specify, for example, what behaviours indicate that a child is fixated at the anal stage of psychosexual development and what behaviours indicate that he or she is not fixated. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

For any body of theory to be accepted as a valid scientific perspective, its consequences must be statable. The hypothesis that fixation at the anal stage can lead to stinginess (or to the opposite, generosity) is evidently not refutable; whatever the outcome, the theory can account for it. To that extent the psychoanalytic approach fails to meet the criteria of a scientific theory. Because some important aspects of psychoanalytic theory cannot be proven experimentally, some psychologists claim that it has no value either as psychology or as science (Eysenck 1972).

However, many others claim that experimental validity is an inappropriate yardstick for evaluating psychodynamic theory and that the theory is verified in practice in the analyst-patient interview. Evaluating Freud’s Psychosexual Stage Theory The theory is focused almost entirely on male development with little mention of female psychosexual development. His theories are difficult to test scientifically. Concepts such as the libido are impossible to measure, and therefore cannot be tested. The research that has been conducted tends to discredit Freud’s theory.

Future predictions are too vague. How can we know that a current behavior was caused specifically by a childhood experience? The length of time between the cause and the effect is too long to assume that there is a relationship between the two variables. Freud’s theory is based upon case studies and not empirical research. Also, Freud based his theory on the recollections of his adult patients, not on actual observation and study of children. Find more information about Freud’s theory of personality: Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

The late sixties saw a quickly materialising concern about the position of maleness. Before the sixties it seemed that the thought of maleness was safe – males could be utile within modern capitalist societies, supplying for their households and deriving a sense of satisfaction from their topographic point in society. But society began to alter, economically, socially and particularly in relation to the place of adult females. The rise of feminism was altering adult females ‘s attitudes about the manner in which they were ( and are ) treated. In bend this was get downing to impact how work forces viewed themselves. Carroll ( 2004 ) explains how in American society the ‘breadwinner ideal ‘ was being eroded with support from professional groups including psychologists and heart specialists – working all the hours and a changeless nisus for stuff wealth might non be good for you. How, asked work forces, do we specify ourselves now? This essay will analyze the crisis in maleness from the point of position of depth psychology i??through the Oedipal comp’lex and the cast0tl.QD… COmp, lex – and so travel onto grounds from societal and cultural theories.

To analyze how maleness might be in crisis, it is first necessary to analyze how psychoanalytical theories posit that male childs gain their masculine individuality – or in other words how they become work forces. Modern psychoanalytical theory, as did Freud himself, places a great accent on the early relationships of the immature male child with his parents or health professionals. It is the vicissitudes of these relationships that will hold of import effects for development. In Freudian footings, this early relationship is overshadowed by the Oedipal struggle. The female parent shows a great involvement in the kid and the male child realises that his male parent represents his chief challenger to this relationship. The male child desires the female parent, but the male parent stands in the manner. Trying to keep these conflicting influences at some sort of equilibrium is the cardinal play of development from a psychoanalytical. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

What, so, are the most of import procedures that occur in early life that influence the building ( or otherwise ) of the male individuality out of the Oedipal crisis? Greenson ( 1968 ) explains that psychoanalytic theory dressed ores on the thought of disidentification, this is divided into two procedures: foremost a male child must break up the emotional ties he has with the primary health professional – normally the female parent – and secondly he needs to place with a male role-model – normally the male parent. The designation with the male parent should let the male child to hold a manner of pass oning with the outside universe, to allure the male child off from psychological intimacy with the female parent and supply the support needed to avoid the male childs return to a symbiotic relationship with his female parent.

The relationship with the female parent, so, is seen by Klein ( 1975 ) as a delicate reconciliation act. It proVides a paradigm for ulterior relationships with adult females and so needs to be warm and loving, but it is hard for a adult male to hold relationships with adult females if he is excessively close to his female parent. Horrocks ( 1994 ) argues that, in fact, the male kid is surrounded by muliebrity throughout his early childhood, and it is of import for him to interrupt off and detect a universe of work forces for here lie the roots of the male individuality. The cardinal paradox, though, is that the adult male wishes to get away this cocoon of muliebrity but there is besides the desire to go close to a adult female. One danger in this moral force is that the early influence of the female parent is excessively great and non sufficiently counter-acted by the male parent – this leads to an inability to divide himself from the female parent ( Horrocks, 1994 ) . Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

The function of the male parent in the masculine individuality is seen as important by psychoanalysts. Horrocks

( 1994 ) sees the function of begeting as an debut to manhood, the debut to a function that has antecedently been shrouded in enigma. While there are some induction rights and ceremonials in some civilizations, overall, and particularly in western societies, it is non peculiarly strong. There has really been a gulf between the boy and his male parent, now the male parent heads out to work mundane and no thirster has a opportunity to bond with his boy. Horrocks ( 1994 ) sees one of the most of import maps of the male parent as to demo the immature male child that it is possible to populate with the female parent, to hold struggle, fright and guilt, but still to populate together. It is through the father-son relationship that the male child can larn that it is possible to populate a civilized being without continual resort to force and repletion of crude yearnings. The damaged modern male, the male in crisis, is seen by Horrocks ( 1994 ) as ‘unfathered ‘ . Womans are viewed as unsafe – to hold a relationship is to hold a conflict and the adult male must pull himself off from adult females from clip to clip to keep his safety. By ne’er truly doing a strong connexion, the modern adult male in crisis feels damaged and abused and uses the methods of maltreatment and harm to associate to others because he knows no other manner.

This analysis of the Oedipal composite and its effects, every bit good as the possibility of transcendency, really describes a instead archetypal interaction between the immature male child and his health professional. Blazina ( 2004 ) depict how some unfavorable judgments and polishs of this theoretical account have been made by subsequent theoreticians. Bergman ( 1995 ) , for illustration, has argued that it is non needfully with the female parent the male child should be disidentifying. There are many state of affairss where the male parent is really the supplier of the most emotional nurturance. In this instance it is better to see the individualization as happening with the primary health professional instead than the female parent. Blazina ( 2004 ) besides maintains that there should non be such accent on the cutting off of the other individuality. Where the other individuality is feminine, there is now greater acceptableness of feminine qualities in work forces so these can be integrated into male individuality without compromising masculinity.

For the crisis in maleness, Freud ‘s construct of the emasculation composite is of great involvement.

Freud ( 1925 ) theorised that the emasculation composite had the following phases. First a male child guesses from the grounds of his ain anatomy that everyone has a phallus. Second he finds out that adult females do non hold phalluss and assumes that they have been mutilated in some manner. Third when he begins to masturbate, he is told that he will be castrated. Fourthly, happening that the chest has already been removed, summarises that the phallus will be following. Finally, the Oedipus composite is destroyed by this menace of emasculation.

Harmonizing to Horrocks ( 1994 ) , Freud saw this sequence of events as concrete, whereas many psychoanalysts now see this in more allegorical footings, as mediated by civilization and society. Through gender, both work forces every bit good as adult females are denied a whole universe of being, the universe of the other gender. After the procedure of partitioning work forces and adult females both feel a sense of loss at the things

that they will non be able to see. In work forces this emasculation composite expresses itself in a assortment of different ways. Work forces have a desire for love, a fright of their ain gender, and, in peculiar, a fright of their ain choler. Horrocks ( 1994 ) describes how, as a clinical psychologist, many work forces talk about their fright that their choler will be exposed to the universe. To halt this, they have to bottle it up and quash the emotion. As a consequence, in heterosexual work forces, this is recognised by the adult females with whom they have relationships and they are rendered impotent and nonsexual. A adult male who acts in this manner behaves inactive aggressivelyi?? he is motivated to pull strings those around him by his choler. This

prohibits a direct connexion with other people because his relationships are based on use. The consequence of this is that feelings are kept indoors and denied.

A similar job is seen, in Horrocks ‘ experience, in butch work forces. The emasculation of the butch adult male leaves him deeply afraid of showing his ain feelings. This denies him the possibility of moving emotionally in any state of affairs as this will merely uncover his failing – as he sees it. It is the emotional parts of himself that this adult male hates and wants to conceal off – the feminine parts of him are an embarrassment. By being cut-off from his ain feelings, the psychologically castrated adult male experiences an emptiness within himself that he attempts to make full with methods that will ne’er work. The emptiness interior is frequently experienced as a dead feeling, about of decease itself. It is exactly this ‘almost decease ‘ from which, Horrocks argues, many work forces in the crisis of maleness are enduring. Without the connexion with his ain emotions, or those of anyone else, he is merely half a adult male, non able to see himself or others decently, safely cocooned within an empty universe.

Within Freud ‘s Hagiographas, adult female were theorised to endure from enviousness of the male phallus, but Freud did non admit the possibility of work forces being covetous of the female chest. The male-centred thought that phallus enviousness is cardinal to depth psychology is attacked by the debut of the thought of chest enviousness. Klein ( 1975 ) , for illustration, has pointed out that both male and female kids have really strong feelings towards the chest – both are attracted to it and both want to destruct it. Alternatively of specifying both sexes in footings of the phallus – one holding and the other covetous – a mutual enviousness provides balance that acknowledges the blank in work forces ‘s lives every bit good. The chest does, after all provide, non merely nourishment, but besides love to the kid, and so a adult female ‘s chest is a symbol of these qualities. Horrocks ( 1994 ) argues that work forces have a strong desire to return to the chest, to return to the conceiver of life and at the same clip work forces attack the chest and want to destruct it. Psychoanalytic Theory Essay Paper

Melanie Klein posited that the thought of womb enviousness was besides an of import constituent in the male mind. Minsky ( 1995 ) describes how the Kleinian point of view sees the development of male power as being rooted in the fright of the uterus. Like the immature male childs enviousness of his female parent ‘s chests, he besides becomes covetous of her uterus and the power it has to make new life. To do up for this enviousness, work forces are forced to concentrate their attempts on cultural and originative attempts and to stamp down adult females ‘s raids into the same field. Minsky ( 1995 ) explains that it is the Phallus that so saves work forces and provides a distraction from the enviousness of the uterus.

Lacan has a different return on the Oedipus composite. He sees the male parent non as a existent male parent but as a representation or a metaphor for civilization ( Lacan, 2004 ) . It is through the immature male child ‘s experience of cultural factors such as linguistic communication that he is pulled off from the female parent. The female parent represents desire for Lacan and so civilization, through the representation of the male parent, pulls the male child from what he desires. This cutting off is like a emasculation and the kid so attempts to replace this with a hunt for truth ( Minsky, 1995 ) .

Many of these psychoanalytical thoughts about the roots of a crisis in maleness are analysed in societal theories in footings of a struggle in gender functions. O’Neil, Helms, Gable, David, & A ; Wrightsman ( 1986 ) have defined gender function struggle as where socialized gender functions have an inauspicious psychological consequence which causes a restrictive consequence on the ego through barriers created around personal creativenesss and freedom. O’Neil et Al. ( 1986 ) place four different types of function struggle. There is

a limitation in the scope of internal emotionalism ; likewise, there is a limitation in the types of emotional behavior that are possible towards other meni?? this consequences in an inability to pass on feelings. Personal accomplishment and changeless comparing to what others have creates a changeless sense of fright and concern. There is a struggle between the demands of work and those of the household which consequences in emphasis and wellness jobs, and a simple deficiency of clip to loosen up.