IV. Approach #4: Psychoanalysis

(an approach that emphasizes unconscious motives and conflicts. At one time, this approach was also called "psychodynamic," but that term is no longer considered synonymous with the traditional psychoanalytic approach.)

A. View of humans

B. What should psychology be?

C. Founded by Freud, who believed that there was conflict among your three personalities:

id: (the "it"), governed by the pleasure principle, the container of inherited psychological energy. It has survival drives such as 

ego: (the "I"), governed by the reality principle, the center of reason, but not m________

superego: (the "above me"), governed by the morality principle, represents internalized social standards

D. Weaknesses/Common Objections

Scientific problems:

1. What is the evidence for a powerful unconscious mind?

2. Is the therapy based on the theory more effective than other therapies?

Popular objections (but not necessarily problems with the theory):

  1. "Freud puts too much emphasis on childhood. He makes it seem like we are prisoners of our past experiences."
  2. "Freud is too obsessed with sex."
  3. "Freud underestimates the power of the conscious, rational mind."
  4. "Freud picture of humans is too negative."

E. Recent changes/discoveries

F. Application to Therapy: Make the unconscious conscious

Insight---->Cure

But how do you achieve insight? Hint: Not by using hypnosis.

1. Dream interpretation ("the royal road to the unconscious") If you want to see--not as a serious thing but just for fun--how one might use this technique, try this link.

2. Freudian slips

3. Word association

4. Free association and analysis of resistance

5. Projective tests

6. Transference


By now you should be able to:

  1. Describe the main focus of psychoanalysis.

  2. Explain how Freud's theory is consistent with the theory of evolution.

  3. Define the terms id, ego, and superego.

  4. Explain why Freud's theory is not considered scientific.

  5. List three common objections to Freud's theory and explain why those objections could be considered irrelevant to the validity of the theory.

  6. Explain how Freud might diagnose and treat a violent individual.

  7. Explain how psychoanalysis differs from cognitive therapy.

  8. Explain how psychoanalysis differs from the neurophysiological approach.

  9. Describe at least three techniques that psychoanalysts might use and explain why they would use those techniques.

  10. Explain how Freud and Watson would differ in how they treated a child's fear of horses.

In addition, you should

  1. Go through this photobiography of Freud
  2. Watch this short (2 minute) animated video about one of Freud's famous cases--Little Hans


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