The Application of Psychodynamic Theories Based on the Frances Ashe Case Study

3636 Words15 Pages
Peryn Fenlon

The purpose of this essay is to identify some of the key concepts and provide an understanding of psychodynamic theory and its application. This will be done in relation to a case study and role play carried out on Frances Ashe, a middle aged woman who has been in therapy for five years. The key concepts of psychodynamic theory which will be explored further include stages of development, ego defences and past and present links.

Psychodynamic refers to the inner drives and conflicts of the mind. Psychodynamic counselling is derived from psychoanalytic traditions which originate from the work of Sigmund Freud (1856-1936) and later Klein (1882-1960), Winnicott (1896-1971), Bowlby (1907-1990) and others, and it works
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In Freudian psychoanalytic theory ego defence mechanisms are described as psychological strategies brought into play by the ego to cope with
Peryn Fenlon

reality, to maintain self-image and ward off anxiety. Defence mechanisms keep painful or unacceptable experiences away from the conscious mind by repressing them into the unconscious. Some common examples of defence mechanisms include projection: placing unacceptable impulses in yourself onto someone else, denial: arguing against an anxiety stating that it doesn’t exist, splitting: active separation into good and bad experiences, perceptions and emotions, introjection: taking representations of others or parts of others into one’s inner world, suppression: pushing into the unconscious, and idealisation: an object is invested with unrealistic positive attributes. Being able to recognise and interpret defence mechanisms is an important aspect of psychodynamic counselling.

Psychodynamic counsellors work with clients to establish references to significant figures in their past and to identify ways in which these may be linked to the present. The psychodynamic theory of the ‘triangle of insight’ can also help with the client’s recognition of unresolved issues from their past in an attempt to resolve situations and draw insight into present situations. The triangle of insight has three points of connection: the here and now: interactions and the relationship between the client and

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