Freud - The Father of Psychoanalysis
Sigmund Freud is the father of Psychoanalysis, and therefore Psychodynamic Theory. During his early years in training as a neurologist in Vienna, Freud became fascinated with Mesmer and his research in hypnosis. Freud then traveled to France where his theory became well established as a treatment approach to hysteria.
Five Things to Remember about Psychodynamic Theory
- That there is an unconscious intrapsychic dynamic (the movement of mental energy within the mind). He believed this was finite.
- The primacy of the first five years of life: It’s the predictor of your adjustment in the future.
- Development occurs in fixed stages.
- Fantasies and symbolic meanings of events have a greater influence on behaviour than reality itself. (what objects represent; spiders= mothers; snakes= women)
- Relied on subjective rather than objective methods of getting at “truth”---interpretation of dreams. (two front teeth)
Freud asserts that there are three dynamic elements of the persona. The interplay between elements results in a variety of patient presentations:
- Freud called this the “Seething cauldron”
- Contains sexual and aggressive instincts
- Inaccessible to conscious awareness
- Follows the “pleasure principle”
- Motivating force oriented to the immediate and total gratification
- The centre of conscious awareness.
- Gives the individual mental powers of judgment, memory, perception, and decision-making.
- Governed by the “Reality Principle”…motivated to deal with the constraints of the external world, but with the purpose to satisfy the id ultimately.
- Can be called the “conscience” of the system.
- Exerts a controlling function over the ego’s pursuit of the id’s desires.
- Freud believed that without the Superego, people would turn to rape, murder, and incest.
Conflicts and Persona
The interplay/dynamics between the Id, Ego, and Superego, result in a variety of outcomes:
- Overactive Id= governed by impulse and selfish desires.
- Overactive Superego= rigid, moralistic, and bossy.
- A weak Ego is unable to balance personal needs and wishes with social duties and realistic limitations.
How the Ego Manages
Follow are examples of tools of the Ego designed to relieve stress when the demands of the id cant be met. These processes are largely unconscious and necessary.
- Repression: Someone who was sexually abused by a parent. Has no emotional experience when talking about it.
- Denial: Someone who was sexually abused by a parent but refuses to acknowledge anger when the topic comes up in conversation.
- Sublimation: Doing an activity to “burn off” id energy (e.g.; exercise).