jadlewis03
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hi, could anyone doing a level psychology (Edexcel) explain the psychodynamic approach especially the model of the mind and defense mechanisms. thanks!
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moso2203
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(i do aqa, so only focus on the things that are similar with edexcel)
psychodynamic approach was a theory designed by sigmund freud, it focuses on the unconscious mind

he said that our mind is split into:
- the conscious, the small amount of mental activity we know about, thoughts and perceptions
- the preconscious, the things we could be aware of if we tried, like dreams
- the unconscious, the things we are unaware of and cannot become aware of, like fears, desires, urges, traumatic experiences

if you imagine this as an iceberg, the conscious mind is the one we see, whereas the other two are hidden

he also believed that the personality was split into three parts. these are:
- the id, which focuses on pleasure. it's demanding, selfish, desireful. Babies are born with the id
- the ego, which focuses on reality. it's realistic, patient, less demanding, and is formed at 2 years. it is the mediator between the id and superego.
- the superego, which focuses on morality. it's good, helpful, provides a moral compass, and punishes the ego with guilt if you do something immoral

the ego has to balance the demands of the id and the superego. this can cause anxiety. the ego has defence mechanisms to deal with this. they are:
- repression: unacceptable thoughts and desires are forced out of the conscious mind into the unconscious mind
- displacement: unacceptable desires are displaced onto a more socially acceptable target. e.g. you can't punch your parent, so you punch your bedroom wall.
- denial: refusing to acknowledge an aspect of reality.
- regression: going back to an earlier stage of development, e.g. sucking your thumb.

freud also claimed that child development happened in five stages. this is known as the psychosexual stages of development.
1 - oral: 0 to 1 yerrs. focus of pleasure is the mouth, mother's breast.
2 - anal: 1 to 3 years. focus of pleasure is the anus.
3 - phallic: 3 to 5 years. this is where the oedipus / electra complex happens. in the oedipus complex, boys develop incestuous f eelings towards their mum and a hatred towards the dad. because they fear being castrated by their dad, they repress their sexual feelings and identify with the father. in the electra complex, girls desire their father and hate their mother, and they replace this desire with a desire for a baby.
4 - latency.
5 - genital.

the oedipus complex comes from the famous study of little hans. it's been criticised for lacking objectivity and being theoretical, plus freud did all the interviews himself so naturally there would be bias.

a lot of freud's stuff is criticised because his approach is unfalsifiablemeaning it can't be proved false. freud says that all of the above happens in the unconscious mind, which we can't test. that means that the psychodynamic approach is a pseudoscience.

hope this helps. let me know if you have any qs!
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