Psychodynamic Theory

Psychodynamic Theory
February 7, 2022 2 Comments Mental health emmahjoy

If you have heard of Sigmund Freud, then most probably you are likely to confuse the psychodynamic theory with Psychoanalytic theory. The Psychoanalytic theory is specific to the works done by Sigmund Freud whereas, the psychodynamic theory covers the works of Sigmund as well as his followers like Carl Jung, Erik Erikson, Alfred Adler, Melanie Klein and Anna Freud.

What is psychodynamic theory?

In an analytic approach, psychodynamic theory refers to all the theories (inclusive of psychoanalytic theory)that discuss human behaviors as a result of innate forces and drives within the individual.

The theory believes that all behaviors has a cause or origin.

The theory seeks to identify the origin of all the psychological processes in a person with the goal of helping to improve human behavior from its roots.

Therefore, the roots can be in our unconscious mind, childhood experiences or development of negative coping mechanisms to deal with life stressors.

In a therapeutic setting, the therapist would analyze the client’s emotions, beliefs, thoughts, past experiences and current experiences. They would then identify behavior patterns and identify what influences an individual to act as they do.

The therapy process requires an individual to build a relationship with the therapist to be able to share freely. However, there can be a risk of transference where either therapist or the client transfers their personal experiences or feelings to one another.

Works Identified with Psychodynamic Theory

  1. Sigmund Freud

He is among the early researchers to study the human mind in relation to their behavior. Sigmund Freud is most famous for the development of the Psychosexual stages of development. However, his works covers several areas such as the conscious mind, the personality(Id, Ego and Superego) and the therapeutic techniques of free association. All of these are described under the umbrella theory of psychoanalysis.

2. Carl Jung

He was a student of Sigmund Freud. He was also the founder of analytical psychology. Just like Sigmund Freud, Jung also believed in the operations of the unconscious mind. In his theory of collective unconsciousness, he formed the archetypes of behavior to explain the patterns of behavior. In addition to Sigmund Freuds work on the psychosexual stages of development, he helped to coin Electra complex a term to describe a girls feelings towards her father.

3. Alfred Adler

The theory associated with Alfred Adler is referred to as the Adlerian theory. The theory emphasizes on analyzing a person as a whole and not in segments. The theory believes that human beings are goal oriented and thus their behavior is out of a struggle to feel significant. He therefore discusses the inferiority and superiority complexes. His works on birth order in relation to personality also played a key role in how an individuals personality can be analyzed.

4. Erik Erikson

He is identified as an ego psychologist. His works revolves around child development. He stated that child development follows a given order from birth to adulthood. However, unlike Freud, he focused on the child’s growth rather than their sexual drives. He is known to have developed the term “Identity crisis” in his work of child development. Erik Erikson’s stages of development include 8 stages of growth.

5. Anna Freud

From her name, was a child to Sigmund Freud. She followed her fathers footsteps and added to the psychoanalytic knowledge her father had provided. However, she is most known for researching on child psychoanalysis. In her work, she gave a comprehensive look into the coping and defense mechanisms.

6. Melanie Klein

Her works also revolve around child psychoanalysis. Her works were out of disagreement with most of the Freudian concepts. She is known for developing the object relation theory used in analyzing behavior in children. She developed concepts such as paranoid schizoid position and depressive positions.

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