Evaluate the Extent to Which Freud's Theory of Psychosexual Development Can Help Us to Understand a Client's Presenting Issues

2632 Words Mar 16th, 2012 11 Pages
Evaluate the extent to which Freud’s theory of psychosexual development can help us to understand a client’s presenting issues
Introduction
Freud’s approach to understanding human behaviour – psychoanalysis – has had a profound effect on psychology. His approach is one of many that share some common assumptions, while differing fundamentally in others. Contemporaries of Freud, such as Jung and Adler were inspired by Freudian theory, but emphasised different issues in human development and experience. Collectively these theories are described as “psychodynamic” because they emphasise the factors that motivate behaviour (i.e. the dynamics of behaviour). They challenged the biomedical view that mental disorders had physical origins. The
…show more content…
For example children who fail to identify with their parents during the phallic stage will find it impossible to develop a conscience and will be at risk of developing antisocial personality disorder (a lack of consideration for the rights and feelings of others) and an absence of guilt or remorse.
Early experiences – the immature ego is not developed fully enough to deal with external events such as maternal absences, parental shortcomings or competition with siblings. Traumatic or confusing events in childhood, therefore, are pushed into the unconscious – a process Freud called repression – because they are too painful for the ego to bear, or because the child hasn’t developed sufficient knowledge of the world to make sense of the event. Distressing feelings around traumatic events do not disappear, however, simply because they are repressed. They find expression in dreams and irrational behaviour and may eventually erupt and express themselves in psychological disorders such as depression.

Psychosexual stages of development Another key aspect of Freud’s theory is the claim that people move though a series of developmental stages. Each of the stages in the table below is characterised by a focus on a different region of the body. Freud believed that an individual’s libido is fixated on a part of the body