Psychoanalytic Theory

Free «Psychoanalytic Theory» Essay Sample

This theory provides controversial but cohesive insights as to how a human mind works. Additionally, psychoanalytic theory provides a modern approach towards psychotherapy. This way, the theory as a counseling theory provides a treatment technique, especially to people with psychological problems. Sigmund Freud argues that human behavior results from interaction between the Ego, ID and Superego as mind components. Current theory places great importance upon the function of cataleptic psychological conflicts towards shaping personality and behavior (Holt & Freud, 1989). Dynamic interactions amongst the three carry people through psychosexual development stages – genital, latency, phallic, anal and oral. The ID is a primitive structure that functions unconsciously based upon pleasure and seeks instant gratification. The Ego is less primitive and functions on partial consciousness. Operating on reality principle, the Ego relies upon reason. The Superego functions consciously and operates on moral principle. The ID regulates the Superego based upon morality issues and social learning. The influences of such inner struggles throughout childhood affect behavior and adult personality development.


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In counseling some troubled adults, it is important to study their overall childhood memories. Development stages influence people’s ability to resolve internal conflicts. Towards this end, the psychoanalytic theory provides an appropriate method in treatment and investigation of personality disorders. It is important in psychotherapy. Of importance to current theory is that things happening to children can influence how they function when they grow up. The mind is made up of the unconscious and conscious mind (Inglis & Thorpe, 2012). Unconscious mind prompts individuals to make particular decisions without realizing it in the conscious level. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory postulates that psychic energy enables the mind to plan, think, feel and remember. This energy comes from Eros or libido – sexual and life instincts and Thanatos or aggression – death instinct. Current theory leaves no room to free will, accidents and miracles. Therefore, nothing is ever accidental. To counselors, psychoanalytic theory helps in unraveling hidden causes and bringing them to conscious awareness. This way, a problem can be resolved.

The unconscious has an important role in behavior determination. Human functioning depends upon psychological defenses. Therapeutic relief is effected through assisting people by bringing out underlying conflicts. Psychological therapy for counselors is a talk therapy. Attaining self-insight is a major objective of psychoanalytic theory. The theory posits during a person’s formative years, either an individual can be affected by traumatic episodes or he/she can inherit neurotic issues from his/her parents. According to Freud, bad experiences have sexual components. Trauma heightens child’s Electra or Oedipus complex. Irrational drives impel human behavior. Liberation is achievable through bringing the unconscious to the conscious. Therefore, the psychoanalytic theory is about human behavior, experience, development, human nature and motivation (Ermisch, 2008). Towards this end, childhood experiences affect people’s adulthood. Some psychological problems are prompted by their development. Psychoanalysis is dependent upon observation. People are mostly unaware of the factors which determine their behavior and emotions. Some of these factors remain unconscious and therefore counseling services come in handy in addressing possible psychological challenges. After the counseling service it becomes possible to understand the underlying sources of their problems through getting a historical insight.


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The psychoanalytic theory assumes that the main goal of every behavior is primarily based upon tension reduction. It is done through energy release that produces pleasure. People operate according to the Hedonistic Principle – seeking unrestrained gratification for their desires. Moreover, psychoanalytic theory assumes that the mind is divided into three parts that are: the sub-conscious, pre-conscious and the conscious. Human beings have no conscious control upon their actions and thoughts. The psychoanalytic theory postulates that early human development affects their future. It also assumes that understanding the unconscious has immense therapeutic results. The psychoanalytic theory postulates that it is possible to understand the existing problems through gathering a historical insight regarding individual vis-à-vis his/her childhood development.

In psychoanalysis, a counselor sees a patient about four times within a week. The patient tries to communicate as freely and openly as possible. Such conditions create an analytical setting. It enables the counselor understand the client’s previous experiences through structured sessions bereft of any undue influence. It ensures that the clients participate in the talk therapy by communicating their internal experiences that were hidden previously. In the process, it is possible to unleash the causes of a patient’s current difficulties and witness how certain repetitive emotions, thoughts and behaviors arise. The counselor then helps the client identify the patterns. Together, the counselor and the client analyze the incapacitating symptoms. Psychoanalysis as an approach enables the counselor to enjoy his/her freedom through the intimate relationship with the client. Such approach enables the counselor to enjoy both his/her personal and professional pursuits. Gradually, the client begins experiencing meaningful behavioral and relationship changes.

My role as a counselor is to guide the client through the structured sessions. It also becomes important to ensure that the client actively participates in revealing his/her underlying problems. It is also the responsibility of the counselor to ensure that the sessions accord an opportunity for the client to speak out his/her mind. The client can understand the current problems by understanding the unconscious. On the other hand, the client is supposed to speak out both freely and openly without doubt or fear of retribution. The client is also expected to adhere to the structured sessions by averting absenteeism. Such approach is advantageous because it is participatory. Using this approach gives both the counselor and the client possibility to comprehend the existing problem. Personally, I opine that psychoanalytic theory is the best counseling theory. The effectiveness of the theory is little higher than of the other counseling theories due to its all-important participatory nature. In conclusion, psychoanalytic theory gives an opportunity for both the counselor and the client comprehend the influence of human development upon their behavior.

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