The psychodynamic approach focuses on individuals who behave in a certain way due to having emotional feelings buried deep inside their unconscious mind. The theory was developed by Sigmund Freud who was a psychologist. The use of the psychodynamic approach within health and social care helps individuals understand and support patients who are undergoing the psychodynamic process as it is generally used around the world. This essay aims to show my understanding of the approach and the ways health and social care workers could apply the theory to a health and social care setting. By explaining what psychodynamic counselling is and how it helps individuals it shows how I am able to identify the solutions to the problems. Psychodynamic theory focuses on the cause which drives or motivates personality development. He assumed the behaviour of humans were similar to animals, for instance humans just like animals are driven by basic needs and motives. Freud had stated that the personality had three unique parts and that these three parts were always at continuous odds which each other which lead to conflict.
The factor which motivates individual’s behaviour was the conflict which is created within the minds of individuals. The three unique parts are: Id- instinct and desires, Ego- reality/ balancer and Super ego- morality. The id is the only part of the personality which is current from birth. This phase of personality is completely unconscious and involves the natural and primal behaviours. Freud suggested that the Id is the basis of all psychic energy (the concept of a theory of action powering the operation of the mind) which makes it the principal element of personality. The Id is a factor within individual’s life which drives individuals to gain pleasure and to avoid displeasure. It strives for instant fulfilment of all desires, requirements, wants and needs. If these wants are not fulfilled immediately then it results in anxiety and tension within the mind of the individual. In other words it is similar to stubbornness, it has to gain its satisfaction or it will lead to trouble. The mind would not rest until it gets what it wants.
For instance an increase in thirst should create an instant attempt to drink. The Id is very essential early on in life because it makes sure that an infant’s requirements are met. How ever, it may not always be possible to satisfy those needs and requirements. If this world was ruled by the pleasure law then individuals will find them selves taking things from others this may satisfy their own cravings. Behaviour like this is not acceptable within society as it is disruptive and socially unacceptable. According to Freud’s theory the Id attempts to determine the tension produced by the pleasure law through the key process which includes individuals forming an image within their minds of a desired item as a way of satisfying their needs. The Ego works according to the reality principle for example it seeks to please the Id’s drive in realistic ways that will benefit in the long term rather than bringing grief. It is the sector of personality which serves the demands of the Id, the Super Ego and reality.
The Ego prevents individuals from performing their basic urges which is produced by the Id, but also works to aim for a balance with the moral and idealistic standards created by the Super Ego. By the Ego working in preconscious and conscious, its strong ties with the Id means it also operates in the unconscious. The Ego works based on the reality principle, which operates to satisfy the desires of the Id in a way which is realistic and socially suitable. An example is, if an individual was physically abused, the Ego plays its part and prevents the individual from performing any kind of action which will cause trouble. The Ego allows individuals to see that this kind of negative response would be socially inappropriate, but it also allowed individuals to be aware of the fact that there are other ways of venting out the frustration caused by the other individual. The last part of the personality which is the super ego is part of the unconscious.
It is the part that makes people obey the rules and that makes them behave the way they do. It judges people, criticizes them, and makes them feel guilty when they do something incorrect. It is what makes people feel guilty and ashamed, it is their inner judge. It is the part of personality which holds all of individual’s ideals that are required from parents and society (individual’s sense of right and wrong). The Super Ego provides guidance in creating judgments. Freud had stated that the Super Ego starts to appear at age five. There are two parts of the Super Ego:
* The Ego Ideal- this involves the rules and standards for good behaviour. These behaviours consist of those which are permitted by parental and other authority figures. Following these rules leads to feelings of pride, value and achievement
* The Conscience- consists of details about things that are thought of being bad by parents and society. These sorts of behaviours are regularly not allowed and lead to bad consequences, punishments or feelings of guilt and remorse. The Superego’s purpose is to act and improve the behaviours of individuals. It operates to suppress all inappropriate urges which comes from the id and struggles to make the ego act upon the idealistic standards rather than upon realistic principles. The Superego is present in the conscious, preconscious and unconscious. The Id, Ego and Super Ego are functions of the mind rather than being parts of the brain. The psychoanalytic theory of the conscious and unconscious mind is usually described by using an ice berg. The conscious awareness is at the surface of the iceberg while the unconscious is present by the ice hidden underneath the surface of the water. Psychodynamic counsellors focus on the unconscious process as they are within an individual’s current behaviour.
Psychodynamic counsellors help their client to observe unresolved conflicts and symptoms which have arisen from the past on their present behaviour. They help individuals examine the conflicts that arise from the past relationships which were not working properly because that may be the reason to why individuals behave in the way they do. Usually the counsellors attempt to let the individual access the unconscious for the individual to come in terms with the self – conscious thoughts and emotions that influence behaviour, or to even learn things missed when trauma had affected development. The counsellor within this field is suppose to avoid letting their personality have an influence on the client and will avoid making personal statements. The must not involve them selves within the therapy as it may affect the client. In actual fact counsellors may not say as much and they may not face the client. The clients may use a couch to lie down on so that they can feel relaxed. The aim of the psychodynamic counsellors is to try and bring their clients to the surface of their true feelings, in order to experience them and understand them.
The counsellors try and help to bring their clients to the surface of their true feelings because facing feelings which are held within the unconscious mind may be too painful for the individual to face. That is why individuals have come up with defences to protect them knowing about the painful feelings. An example of a defence is called denial which individuals seem to do when they do not want to face something they know is true. The counsellors aim to unravel the true feelings within individuals and being aware of what is really going on individuals minds seems to not be as painful. What Psychodynamic counsellors hope to achieve is making individuals figure out their true feelings which lie within their unconscious as it affects their present behaviour. If individuals are aware of their true feelings then it will not be painful and may change their current behaviour. For instance if an individual is always angry and venting out their anger on others, crying without any reasons or seeing re-occurring dreams then the counsellor will help them find out why they are acting the way they are.
The counsellor will help them find out their true feelings within them selves. Dream analysis is analysing individuals dreams which cause psychological problems that are provoking unusual behaviour and changes in the dreamer’s personality. From dream analysis it is said that most people experience recurring dreams because they cannot stop repeating the same mistakes as the unconscious mind keeps trying to warn the dreamer. The aim of dream analysis is to discover the unconscious meaning by recording the dreams and analysing it. Some dreams may me more meaningful than others while some dreams do not have any meaning at all. Within psychotherapy the dreams that are most likely to have meanings are recurrent dreams. Further more dream analysis is a way of finding out the meaning from images from dreams in order to gain a view of a patient’s psychology.
The patient may find it difficult to remember their dreams but with some training they may be able to retain them long enough to record them down into a journal. Voice recordings could also be used as well as writing them down, some therapists suggest the dreamers to draw a scene from the dream. It is essential to record the dream instantly after waking up because they may forget it. How ever even when recording the dream after waking up will quite often be uneven impressions rather than the full dream and accurate records and this fact must be remembered during the analysis process of the dreams.
By therapists helping patients make sense of their dreams they attempt to understand the dream in order for the individual to explore and learn more about themselves because dreams may have hidden reasons which cannot be understood after waking up. Overall the psychodynamic approach focuses on the cause which drives personality development and the main reason to this is because there is not a balance between the Id, Ego and Super Ego. One of the parts overtakes the other causing individuals to behave in a particular way. Individuals only behave in a certain way due to childhood experiences which has caused the individual to build up subconscious thoughts within their minds. It causes individuals to build up inner emotions which they cannot face as they find it difficult and psychodynamic counselling tends to help individuals confront their inner emotions as it helps them figure out why they are feeling the way they are.