Guide Early Female Development: Current Psychoanalytic Views

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Clinically, aggression seems to be a factor in conflict, very much like sexuality.

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Despite widespread acceptance of the idea of aggression as simply parallel to sexuality in all respects, there are major discrepancies. Perhaps aggression cannot be viewed as a drive after all; perhaps our drive construct needs to be modified to accommodate aggression. Certainly, controversy in this area has interfered with the production of good clinical studies which could begin to increase our understanding of aggression and its place in the human personality.

The psychoanalytic theory of drive development has probably undergone less change in the last forty years than other aspects of drive theory, although careful observational work has led to alterations of our views of the age of onset of genital awareness, of female sexual development and function, and of the latency period.

This is the conclusion of the first of two papers examining the post-Freud development of the theory of instinctual drives in psychoanalysis. The ego develops in order to mediate between the unrealistic id and the external real world. It is the decision making component of personality. The superego incorporates the values and morals of society which are learned from one's parents and others.

Parts of the unconscious mind the id and superego are in constant conflict with the conscious part of the mind the ego. Freud claimed that adult personality is the product of innate drives- i.

Early Female Development

Critical Evaluation. The greatest criticism of the psychodynamic approach is that it is unscientific in its analysis of human behavior. Many of the concepts central to Freud's theories are subjective, and as such, difficult to test scientifically. For example, how is it possible to scientifically study concepts like the unconscious mind or the tripartite personality?

In this respect, it could be argued that the psychodynamic perspective is unfalsifiable as its theories cannot be empirically investigated.

Such empirical findings have demonstrated the role of unconscious processes in human behavior. Kline argues that psychodynamic theory comprises a series of hypotheses, some of which are more easily tested than others, and some with more supporting evidence than others.

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Also, while the theories of the psychodynamic approach may not be easily tested, this does not mean that it does not have strong explanatory power. Nevertheless, most of the evidence for psychodynamic theories is taken from Freud's case studies e.


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The main problem here is that the case studies are based on studying one person in detail, and with reference to Freud, the individuals in question are most often middle-aged women from Vienna i. This makes generalizations to the wider population e.

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Another problem with the case study method is that it is susceptible to researcher bias. Reexamination of Freud's own clinical work suggests that he sometimes distorted his patients' case histories to 'fit' with his theory Sulloway, The humanistic approach makes the criticism that the psychodynamic perspective is too deterministic. Freud suggests that all thoughts, behaviors and emotions are determined by our childhood experiences and unconscious mental processes. This is a weakness because it suggests we have no conscious free will over our behavior, leaving little room for the idea of personal agency i.

Finally, the psychodynamic approach can be criticized for being sexist against women. For example, Freud believed that females' penis envy made them inferior to males. He also thought that females tended to develop weaker superegos and to be more prone to anxiety than males. Bargh, J. The unbearable automaticity of being. American psychologist, 54 7 , Freud, S.

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