“Outline and Evaluate the Psychodynamic Approach to Abnormality” (12 Marks)

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Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) theory on the psychodynamic approach to abnormality comprises of three sections; psychic conflict, ego-defence mechanisms and psychosexual stages. The psychodynamic model of abnormality suggests that behaviour is driven by the unconscious processes and problems of the mind. The unconscious mind is thought to be a deeper part of a person's mind that operates without an individual knowing it. This includes feelings, thoughts, desires, instincts and emotions which can drive a person’s personality. In the psychic conflict section of Freud’s psychodynamic theory it claims that the structure of personality also known as ‘psyche’ is divided into three parts; the Id, Superego and Ego. Firstly, the Id is referred to as the pleasure principle it is the innate selfish part of everyone’s personality which demands instant satisfaction of drives related to sex and aggression. Secondly, the Super Ego can be described as the morality principle as it is the moral conscience part of everyone’s personality which is concerned with whether something is right or wrong. As the Id and Superego are in direct psychic conflict with one another, the Ego, the conscious, rational part of our personality has to attempt to mediate between the demands. Psychic conflict can occur at any time but particularly in early childhood, as the ego at this time is not fully developed. Abnormality can be caused by an Ego’s imbalance between these demands, such as an overly strong Superego could lead to anxiety and an overactive Id could lead to a sex addiction. This is an approach to abnormality as a well-adjusted person has a developed strong Ego with Ego-defence mechanisms that is able to control the other two components compared to somebody with an unbalanced personality. Ego-defence mechanisms are unconscious coping strategies that are used because the ego is constantly under

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