Outline and Evaluate the Psychodynamic Approach to Abnormality

Note by olivianwokenna, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by olivianwokenna over 6 years ago


AS Psychology (Abnormality / Psychopathology) Note on Outline and Evaluate the Psychodynamic Approach to Abnormality, created by olivianwokenna on 02/18/2014.

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Outline and Evaluate the Psychodynamic Approach to AbnormalityThe psychodynamic approach believes that unconscious desires and unresolved memories can lead to abnormality. It claims that children go through psychosexual stages and fixation at any of these stages can lead to abnormality.First is the oral stage. The child gains pleasure from feeding and putting things in his/her mouth. Fixation at this stage could lead to eating disorders. The next stage is the anal stage, this happens when the child is potty training and pleasure is gained from learning it can can control it's environment. Fixation at this stage can cause OCD or on the other side a over generous personality. The last stage is the phallic stage. Pleasure is gained from playing with genitalia. The interacting parts of the psyche include: id contains two innate drives: reproduction, survival and aggression. The ego is represents logic and tries to balance the id with moral rules proposed by the superego. The superego is our moral authority.  If the ego fails to balance the demands of the id and superego this could cause one to become more dominant than the other, resulting in abnormality. Dominance of the id may lead to destructive, aggressive or selfish behavior, impulsiveness or uninhibited sexual behavior. If the superego dominates the person may be unable to engage in any sort of pleasurable activity, socially acceptable or not. They may also experience anxiety because they fear saying or doing the wrong thing.A strength of the psychodynamic approach to psychopathology is that it is a revolutionary theory. Freud was the first to conduct research into the unconscious processes and repressed material in our mind. This has enabled further research to be conducted into the effects of childhood experiences such as sexual abuse on psychopathology. On the other hand, a weakness into the psychodynamic model is that it has been criticised for being abstract. For example, it is difficult to define the research as it often refers to the processes taking place in the unconscious mind therefore there is no way to know for certain that they are occurring. Furthermore, the explanations of the approach have limited empirical support so the evidence can only be obtained by case studies.Another strength is that this theory takes away the blame for people with mental illnesses; instead of blaming them it blames unresolved conflicts on childhood conflicts. This removes some of the stigma on mental illnesses. Which means the could be more comfortable getting help if they feel as though they are not being blamed. Although takes the blame off the person, it also suggest that abnormality is outside of peoples control. Lack of free will may lead to people believing that futile to get help. It also puts a lot of pressure and blame on parents.  

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