Outline and Evaluate the Psychodynamic Approach to Abnormality

308 Words2 Pages
The psychodynamic approach states that abnormality is a result of childhood conflict. It states that unresolved childhood conflict can become repressed and then presents itself as abnormal behaviour. The approach also says that abnormaliy can result in an unbalanced personality. According to Freud, the personality consists of the id (responsible for instinctual basic drives such as sex and aggression), the superego (the rational side of the personality which is socialised into us by moral standards) and the ego (which balances the superego and id). An over-developed super-ego can result in anxiety. The psychodynamic approach also includes psychosexual stages which occur at different times during a child’s development. These stages are oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. Due to events in childhood, it is possible to become fixated at one of these stages. This can then lead to abnormal behaviour in the future. For example, a person fixated on the anal stage is usually described as being very obsessive and particulate. An advantage of the psychodynamic approach is that it shows the importance of childhood experiences in being mentally healthy. It also shows how abnormal behaviour can be a result of unconscious conflict, which is why a person may not understand why they’re behaving a certain way or why different therapies aren’t working for them. A criticism of the approach is that it isn’t scientific or researched. Most of Freud’s findings are based on case studies which can’t be replicated or generalised to a wider population. There is also evidence that Freud exaggerated some of his findings to suit his theory. Another disadvantage is it ignores the importance of everyday experiences beyond childhood which could contribute to unconscious conflict. It isn’t supported by the effectiveness of drugs which show that abnormality may have a physiological cause. The
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