Summarize the assumptions of Freud’s psychoanalytical theory

Psychoanalytic and psychoanalytical are used in English. The latter is the older term, and at first simply meant ‘relating to the analysis of the human psyche’. But with the emergence of psychoanalysis as a distinct clinical practice, both terms came to describe that. Although both are still used, today, the normal adjective is psychoanalytic.[3]

Psychoanalysis is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as

A therapeutic method, originated by Sigmund Freud, for treating mental disorders by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the patient’s mind and bringing repressed fears and conflicts into the conscious mind, using techniques such as dream interpretation and free association. Also: a system of psychological theory associated with this method.[4]

Through the scope of a psychoanalytic lens, humans are described as having sexual and aggressive drives. Psychoanalytic theorists believe that human behavior is deterministic. It is governed by irrational forces, and the unconscious, as well as instinctual and biological drives. Due to this deterministic nature, psychoanalytic theorists do not believe in free will.[5]

The beginnings[edit]

Freud first began his studies on psychoanalysis in collaboration with Dr. Josef Breuer, especially when it came to the study on Anna O.[6] The relationship between Freud and Breuer was a mix of admiration and competition, based on the fact that they were working together on the Anna O. case and had to balance two different ideas as to her diagnosis and treatment. Today, Breuer can be considered the grandfather of psychoanalysis.[7] Anna O. was subject to both physical and psychological disturbances, such as not being able to drink out of fear.[8] Breuer and Freud both found that hypnosis was a great help in discovering more about Anna O. and her treatment. The research and ideas behind the study on Anna O. were highly referenced in Freud’s lectures on the origin and development of psychoanalysis.

These observations led Freud to theorize that the problems faced by hysterical patients could be associated with painful childhood experiences that could not be recalled. The influence of these lost memories shaped the feelings, thoughts and behaviors of patients. These studies contributed to the development of the psychoanalytic theory.[9]

Sigmund Freud is often hailed as the father of psychoanalytical theory. His theory was the first to point to the influence of early childhood experiences. However, psychoanalytical theory has received a lot of criticism. Although theories are supposed to be objective and value-free, they are developed within a sociocultural and political context. For example, with historical perspective, it is possible to see that values within the Western Victorian era influenced Freud as he developed his theory. Another criticism is that many psychoanalytical concepts cannot be measured. For example, how do you measure the id, ego, and superego or the notion of unconscious conflicts? As a result, it is difficult to test the accuracy of these concepts using social science research methods.

It is important to critically evaluate theories for their practical use. For example, is it appropriate to use a theory when working with diverse populations or with populations different from those with whom the theory was normed (e.g., women, racial and ethnic minority groups, those who are economically disadvantaged)? Finally, are the assumptions of theories consistent with the values underlying the field? In this Discussion, you respond to some of these concerns.

To prepare, read the following from the Learning Resources:

  • Auld, F., Hyman, M., & Rudzinski, D. (2005). How is therapy with women different? In Resolution and inner conflict: An introduction to psychoanalytic therapy (pp. 217–236). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
  • National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of…

BY DAY 3

Post:

  • Summarize the assumptions of Freud’s psychoanalytical theory in 2 to 3 sentences.
  • Explain whether you believe it is appropriate to apply psychoanalytic theory to women and individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups.
  • Explain whether you believe psychoanalytic theory is consistent with social work values and social work ethics.
  • https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English

 


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