Sigmund Freud and the psychodynamic

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Introduction

Psychodynamic psychology is an art that tries to get inside a human mind to understand the feelings, experiences, relationships, and people’s view of the world. As such, the psychodynamic approach involves all psychology theories that interpret the functioning of a human being, given that forces within the human unconsciousness and consciousness drive such human functionalities. The original psychodynamic theory was Freud Sigmund psychoanalysis, which later psychologists borrowed ideas. This essay is a reflection of Sigmund Freud and the psychodynamic approach. As much as a person can relate to the theory, the theory leaves many gaps and incompleteness that Freud did not address.

Psychodynamics

The psychodynamic theory is also referred to as dynamic psychology. As noted earlier, the approach seeks to understand the psychological forces that are the cornerstone to the emotions, feelings, and behaviors of a human being. Psychodynamics primary focus on the relation between the conscious and unconscious motivations to human practices, and how they relate to early experiences (Bornstein, 2015).  Psychodynamic mainly refers to the Feud’s psychoanalytical theory which,  work on the assumptions that unconscious motives powerfully affect human’s behaviors. Also, It works on the assumptions that the root of adults behaviors, including psychological issues are their childhood experiences. Also, all expressions are determined, meaning that a person’s actions have a cause, which is often unconscious. Further, id, ego, and super-ego are the essential components of personality (Bornstein, 2015). Another assumption is that Eros and Thanatos are the primary instinctual drivers and motivators of behavior. Finally, the unconscious and conscious sections of the brain are usually conflicting, thus creating anxiety, which the body unconsciously rectifies using the defense mechanisms.

Some of the defense mechanisms that the body uses are repression, reaction formation, projection, rationalization, denial, regression, displacement, and sublimation. For example, denial means that a person will refuse to accept a thing that is obvious to others. Similarly, rationalization implies that a person will use wrong reasons that are suiting to their circumstances to justify obviously wrong and unacceptable feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

Freud believed that during childhood before the fifth year, the personality of a person solidifies. He explains that a child goes through 5 stages which are the oral stage, anal, phallic, latency, and genital (Heffner, 2017). He notes that each of the steps brings sexual gratification to a child. The pleasures they get from various parts of their body brings different psychological conflict, which is critical in the personality formation of a child. The most controversial, of his ideas is the boy child sexuality and children’s love for their mothers and relationship with their fathers.

Applicability of the Theory

In my opinion, I can relate to the psychodynamic theory by Feud. The explanation that a person has defense mechanisms that are an interplay between the conflict of a person’s consciousness and unconsciousness to me is correct. In many occasions, I have heard people interpret behaviors of friends and colleagues as defense mechanisms, meaning that the theory is practical and lives so many years after the demise of the founder.

Researcher, have also proved that psychodynamics as a therapy has positive results to patients with psychological issues. For example, Zipfel et al. (2014) set out research to determine the efficacy and safety of focal psychodynamic therapy and enhanced cognitive behavior therapy methods of psychotherapy treatments. Using patients from 10 hospitals in Germany, the researchers conducted randomized controlled efficacy trials, to patients suffering from anorexia nervosa. In the end, the researchers concluded that focal psychodynamic therapy proved to have advantages to the patient. In particular, the researchers found that patients recovered following a 12-month follow-up with the treatment. So, the theory, in my opinion,  makes sense, both as a theory and as a therapy.

Criticisms

Nonetheless, as much as I can relate to the method, the theory has several shortcomings. In my opinion, Freud analysis of human behavior is primarily based on assumptions. In fact, the concepts are subjective, meaning that a researcher would find it difficult to test the ideas scientifically. For instance, it would be difficult for any researcher to carry out a scientific research about the unconscious mind, a concept that is at the focal point of Freud’s psychodynamic theory. That makes the argument nothing more than assumptions, which is not falsifiable scientifically and has no necessary evidence of its practicability, and applicability.

Besides, in my opinion, some of the statements especially on matters pertaining sexuality are vague, incomplete, and self-contradictory.  Nicolosi (2016) affirms this sentiment where he notes that at some instances, Freud says that homosexuality is a form of an illness, while other times he says that homosexuality is a “variation of the sexual function,” which he largely attributes to improper sexual development. This indicates that the theory leaves most things unanswered thus raising concerns and criticisms.

Conclusion

A close reflection analysis about the Freud’s psychodynamics theory indicates that although a person can relate to most of the theory’s explanations, the theory has limitations and gaps it did not address carefully. However, no one can just dismiss the argument entirely because it unearthed an essential determinant of human behavior, which is the unconscious part of a human brain. The element alone, in my opinion, is critical and vital for psychologists thus making the theory relevant and applicable today and for many years to come.

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  1. Bornstein, R. (2015). The Psychodynamic Perspective. Retrieved 16 October 2017, from http://nobaproject.com/modules/the-psychodynamic-perspective
  2. Heffner, C. (2017). Chapter 4: Section 3: Freud’s Stages of Psychosexual Development | AllPsych. Allpsych.com. Retrieved 16 October 2017, from https://allpsych.com/personalitysynopsis/psychosexual
  3. Nicolosi, J. (2016). What Freud really said about homosexuality–and why. Journal of Human Sexuality, 7, 24-22.
  4. Zipfel, S., Wild, B., Groß, G., Friederich, H. C., Teufel, M., Schellberg, D., … & Burgmer, M. (2014). Focal psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and optimized treatment as usual in outpatients with anorexia nervosa (ANTOP study): randomized controlled trial. The Lancet, 383(9912), 127-137
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