Psychodynamic Theories

The psychodynamic theory focuses on understanding unconscious mental processes that cause psychological dysfunctions. The major postulates of this theory are: most of the mental processes such as thoughts, feelings and motives are unconscious i.e. people may behave or develop symptoms in a way that is inexplicable to them. The mental processes may act in parallel sentimental and inspiring manner. Thus the person may have opposing feelings towards the same individual which pulls him in opposite direction and leading to a compromise or defensive situation (Huprich, 2008, p5). Freud defined unconscious as having two types: preconscious which can be made conscious when attention is focused on it. While truly unconscious are those mental contents which are unacceptable and hence are repressed. These can not be brought to the awareness easily. The unconscious does exist is proved by dreams which are expression of our suppressed wishes and desires. The psychodynamic therapist views the symptoms and behaviour as reflections of defences against repressed unconscious processes (Gabbard, 2005, p8). These unconscious mental processes would cause distress if become conscious. The psychological mechanism that keeps these highly disturbing and distressing wishes or fears unconscious is known as repression. Repression is only one way to keep disturbing processes unconscious and avoid the distress. Thus repression is a kind of defense to avoid disturbing the psyche (Schwartz et al, 1995, p6)
The psychodynamic theory focuses on childhood experiences as childhood is the crucial period for personality development which shapes the later social relationships. Mental understanding of self, others and relationships determine peoples reaction and psychological influences towards others. Personality development is not only managing aggression and sexual feelings it is also moving from immature social dependence to mature interdependence. It is appropriate to know here that how our feelings and acts coordinate or become discordant (Huprich, 2008, p5)
According to Freud the psychological structure of mind includes id, superego and ego. Id resides in the unconscious and represents urges, drives and impulses. It is pleasure seeking and aggressive mental structure looking for an object to gratify its desires. (Huprich, 2008, p19). The superego is that part of mind whose foundation is laid on social norms and appropriateness. It works on unconscious level but its contents may become conscious. A conflict develops when desires of id are suppressed by the norms of superego. The ego is the part of mind where consciousness occurs. . The great ability of ego is to identify reality and act accordingly (Huprich, 2008, p20-21).
To identify problematic areas of Julia’s past and relating these to present perspective, we (me and Julia) begin to sort these out. The conversation between me and Julia during first two sessions is as follows:
Me: How do you feel now that there is a baby in the house
Julia begins crying and does not respond.
Me: Are you all right!
Julia does not respond but wipes off her tears
Me: Is the baby fine
Julia tries to stop her sobs and nods her head in affirmative. After some time she says: Baby is keeping me isolated as he is the