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Overview of the Psychodynamic Approach

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH
Caitie Pearce

Q1. Describe the main assumptions of the psychodynamic

Assumption One: The personality is comprised of three parts
The id, or ‘pleasure principle’, is with us since birth. According to Freud, a new born baby is completely selfish. Its main priority is to survive. It has no room for good or bad, only pleasure or pain. Without the id, babies wouldn’t cry when they were hungry or needed attention, and people wouldn’t do things purely for enjoyment

The ego, or ‘reality principle’, appears around the age of three. Children become aware of the feelings of those around them and that they can’t always have their own way. The ego is the scales of the personality; it balances the id’s need for immediate satisfaction with the expectations of society, and the superego’s need to be moral with the id’s need for pleasure.

The superego, or ‘morality principle’, develops around age five. The child internalises their parents sense of morality. The superego is also responsible for the ‘ideal self’.
“The ideal self (or ego-ideal) is an imaginary picture of how you ought to be, and represents career aspirations, how to treat other people, and how to behave as a member of society.” (McLeod, 2008)
When a person acts in accordance with their ideal self, the superego can reward them with a feeling of pride. However, if one falls short of this expectation by giving into the demands of the id, they may experience feelings of guilt for failing.

If there’s an imbalance between these parts of the personality, mental illness can occur. An over-developed id can cause someone to be selfish and out of control. A too-strong ego can cause anxiety and depression.

Assumption Two: The unconscious is the largest part of the mind
Picture an iceberg: the small part above the water is the unconscious, the little area visible just under the surface is the...

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