Assess the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Psychodynamic Approach to Understanding Personality

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Assess the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Psychodynamic approach to understanding personality

The psychodynamic approach was proposed by Freud. This approach towards personality is based on the notion of underlying forces such as the id, ego and superego which are either present from birth or develop during childhood shape our behaviour and personality as such. Experiences in childhood are proposed to be the basis of human personality, according to Freud and as such Psychodynamic theory proposes that some undesirable unbalances between the id and superego can create the arising of ego defence mechanisms which explain individual differences in behaviour. Freudian theory has been adapted by neo-Freudians, however while psychodynamic
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Another strength of the psychodynamic approach to personality is that it has provided a valuable insight into how early experiences or relationships can affect our adult personality. One of the examples of this is that fixations can be causes during even the earliest few months of childhood, such as the oral stage in psychosexual development, this can be caused by separation from the caregiver too early or having feeding difficulties. These fixations can then lead to psychological problems in personality centred around eating or drinking. Jacobs et al (1966) used the Rorschach inkblots to compare the orality of smokers and non-smokers, finding that smokers emerged as being significantly more oral.

On this note, the psychodynamic theory also provided psychological treatments which are still widely used today in therapy for personality disorders. These two treatments in psychodynamic theory are the Rorschach inkblot test and assessment/analysis of dreams. In the Rorschach test the subjects perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analysed using psychological interpretation, complex scientifically derived algorithms or both. These can be used to assess an individual’s personality characteristics. However this Rorschach test itself has been strongly criticised. Firstly

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