Approaches to treating Mental Disorders

When looking at the treatment of people with mental health issues there have been various methods tried, some having limited success and some having long term success, in this essay I shall discuss the three listed in the title along with the benefits and weaknesses of each.

Psychodynamic Approach:

The concept of the psychodynamic approach is to explain behaviour in terms of the forces that drive it. The best known example of this approach is Freud’s theory of personality, although there are many other psychodynamic theories based on Freud’s ideas. Sigmund Freud was the ï¬rst to challenge the view that mental disorders were caused by physical illness and proposed that psychological factors were responsible for the illness.

The psychodynamic approach highlights the importance of the unconscious mind and early childhood experiences. Psychodynamic psychologist’s attempt to deal with the mental health issues of their patients by incorporating these ideas and creating therapies using these ideas. The basic concept behind psychoanalysis is that a patient that suffers from mental health problems such as depression can address any regressed feelings thus, the patient gains insight of and can learn to work through their emotional baggage. It is a generalised concept that if the cause of the symptoms were tackled it would only be logical that the symptoms would then cease.

The Psychodynamic theory assumes the personality is split into three parts, the id (most primitive, instinctive part we have from birth), the ego (logical, balances out the id and superego) and the superego or moral part of our personality. These areas influence our behaviour as well as the defence mechanisms of the ego, and the psychosexual stages of development. Defence mechanisms are used by the ego to help balance out the id and superego to make sure the person isn’t overly impulsive and behaves in a socially acceptable way, without being overly self-conscious. If a person’s superego majorly outweighs the ego, the person may be depressed and not feel good enough for anything. If the person’s id outweighs, they are likely to be more aggressive and immoral as their superego doesn’t have much control. Defence mechanisms such as repression put bad memories into the unconscious to try to get rid of the bad memory to help reach a balance, but depression can occur from this.

Depression, anxiousness and aggressiveness are results of imbalances of the id and superego, and the defence mechanisms work to fight against the imbalance. Denial is another example of a defence mechanism and this is where we refuse to accept or admit something embarrassing which is occurring. The psychosexual stages of development oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital also affect personality as if someone experiences trauma, certain behaviours occur as a result of over tidiness at the anal stage. This links back to the assumptions of the approach, where childhood experiences may have an effect on the adult personality.

People who suffer trauma during the oral stage between 0-1 years old, where the id is developed can become excessively dependant on others and have psychological problems with food or drink e.g. bulimia or anorexia. Trauma during the anal stage between 1-3 years old, where the ego is developed can result in stubbornness and stinginess, whereas problems during the phallic stage between 3-6 years old, where the superego is developed can cause a weak superego with no guilt or shame, a strong superego can lead to excessive guilt or tendencies to be overly sexual.

Psychodynamic therapies: The psychodynamic approach utilises psychoanalysis, dream analysis and free association as forms of therapies, with dream analysis the aim is to make unconscious material conscious. It has been used to treat mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety as well as provide an explanation for it. It links back to the main assumptions of the psychodynamic approach that our mind and behaviour is controlled mostly by our unconscious thoughts, and if a traumatic event is experienced memories may be repressed into the unconscious, possibly leading to mental health problems.

Dream Analysis: Dream analysis is a form of therapy that enables the unconscious material accessible in order to deal with painful repressed memories and explain an individual’s depression. Dream analysis works by a patient visiting a therapist whose job it is to listen to them and provide an explanation or theory for what they are dreaming about. The manifest content is what is remembered as soon as you wake up and is irrelevant, but the latent content is what is important because this is what is used to explain what is going on. Freud described dreams as ‘the royal road to knowledge of the activities of the unconscious mind’.

There are four dream analysis components symbolisation, condensation, displacement and secondary elaboration that are used as part of the explanation. Symbolisation is associating an object with someone or something else, secondary elaboration is piecing things together and sequencing them, displacement is dreaming of one person even though it really means someone else similar to them, and condensation is combining two things together. Dream analysis has been shown to work, here are some studies to show the effectiveness as Sandell (2000) conducted research whereby over 750 patients had dream analysis and demonstrated better long term results on measures of symptom relief, social maladjustment and existential attitudes for psychoanalysis compared to short term and other long term psychotherapies.

Another study by Solms (2000) used Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans to highlight the regions of the brain that are active when dreaming, the results showed that the rational part of the brain is indeed inactive during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, whereas the forebrain centres which are concerned with memory and motivation are very active. In Freudian terms, the ego or rational and conscious thought becomes suspended while the id, more primitive, unconscious and driven part of the mind is given free reign. Another source of support comes from earlier research by Hopld et al (1983) on neural networks, in which computer simulations were used to mimic the action of the brain, these simulations showed how neural networks deal with an overloaded memory by combining or condensing memories.

This supports Freud’s notion of condensation where unacceptable desires are censored and dealt with by recombining fragments until they emerge in a new form or the obvious content of the dream. However there are some negatives associated with dream analysis, it is very expensive as often the therapy is longitudinal as it takes a long time therefore likely to cost more with the amount of sessions involved and any theories about dreams are very subjective as one therapist could have a different suggestion or explanation to another.

When looking at the treatment of people with mental health issues there have been various methods tried, some having limited success and some having long term success, in this essay I shall discuss the three listed in the title along …

Sigmand Freud, also known as ‘’golden siggie’ by his mother was, in his time, a strong cocaine user, but he was also an incredible medical doctor, he was extremely interested in mental health problem that the people were aware of. …

In 1900, Sigmund Freud, a neurologist living in Vienna, first published his psychoanalytic theory of personality in which the unconscious mind played a crucial role. Freud combined the then current cognitive notions of consciousness, perception and memory with ideas of …

The superego which develops from eighteen months and onwards is governed by the morality principle, this is our conscience. Freud believed that our personality fully developed by the age of six. The approach suggests that if the Id is dominant …

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