The unsolved problem

Everyone has anxiety and they all use what Freud named Defence mechanisms in order to cope with anxiety. Defence mechanisms push the problems into the unconscious and help transform them into a more socially acceptable form. There are many different defence mechanisms which can be used a few of these are: Repression: This is when either material in the preconscious that is causing anxiety is pushed back into the unconscious so that it will not make its way to the conscious, or material in the unconscious is censored and therefore the true nature of it forbidden in the preconscious.

For example people who are robbed often cannot remember the attack. Sublimation: This is when instinctual impulses that may be seen as socially unacceptable are hidden by finding another, more acceptable outlet to express these impulses. For example someone with aggressive instincts may take up karate or kick boxing Reaction Formation: This is when people form a reaction opposing what they’re impulses are demanding. For example a lot of homosexual people, are too disgusted with themselves to admit they are homosexual. Denial: This is when the reality of a situation is not acknowledged.

For example when there is a death a person may carry on as if nothing has happened. Projection: This is when instinctual impulses are not acknowledged within us by attributing them to others often incorrectly. For example an insecure person may see other people as weak and insecure. Other defence mechanisms include; projection, regression, rationalisation, introjection, isolation and displacement. If the psychosexual stages have not been successfully undergone the ego does not develop properly and overuses defence mechanisms in order to protect the individual.

When used frequently they are said to restrict the ego’s functioning, as a result of this it becomes less capable in balancing out the conflicts of the Id and Super Ego and the anxiety becomes too great a burden. This is when problems occur. Freud believed that the only way that person could get rid of their problem was to delve into their unconscious and find out which psychosexual stage of development it derived from and relive that stage to resolve the conflict. Within Psychoanalysis Freud used many techniques to discover what was in clients unconscious. Hypnosis

During hypnosis people are semi-conscious and this makes it easier to access the unconscious. When in a hypnotic state clients were encouraged to talk about their life Without filtering thoughts and thinking about how to word things. This enabled them to release impulses and emotions form the unconscious and revealing things that could be interpreted by the client in order to get to the underlying cause of their problem. Freud claimed this cured many patients however he found it difficult to get some clients to reach a state of hypnosis and decided to look for alternative ways of accessing the unconscious.

In free association the client is left to tell the therapist about all their life experiences no matter how significant or insignificant they seem, the client is allowed to express any memory feeling or thought not matter how unacceptable these may be. The fact that there were no constraints on the clients was to encourage them to admit things into their conscious that they may have never been able to admit before. Another condition of free association is that the client therapist relationship must be strong enough for the client to reveal and the therapist to respect the client and not pass judgement.

‘The patient’s sick ego promises us the most complete candour…. we, on the other hand, assure him of the strictest discretion and put at his service our experience in interpreting material that has been influenced by the unconscious’ (Freud ,1949, p. 63) During psychoanalysis the therapist is kept out of sight and aside from the introduction of the session and the feedback interpretation, says nothing, and just listens to the client. Freud said that the reason for this is so that the therapist is a drawing board onto which a client can project anything they want.

In this way they can use the therapist to relive the childhood conflict causing their problems. For example, in the case study of Little Han’s; a young boy with a phobia of horses which Freud revealed represented the boy’s fear of his father whom he had not identified with during the phallic stage of development. The young boy may have moulded Freud into his father, and in doing this was able to identify his father as the real problem and relive and resolve the Oedipus complex and cure his phobia.

The final technique used to uncover the unconscious is dream analysis. Freud believed that dreams were the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind. It is believed that during sleep the ego reduces repression and that dreams are a way of living out wishes desires and impulses from the Id in a socially acceptable form. Dreaming allows a person to bring things out of the unconscious into the conscious throughout the dream. It is said to be a compromise between defence mechanisms that protect the ego and the Id’s demands.

It is censored unconscious material. The censored material of the dream or the story of the dream is called the manifest content. Once the manifest content is established it can be interpreted by the therapist in order to uncover the latent content of the dream, which is the hidden meaning the actual material of the unconscious. Within all of these techniques Freud believed that certain things revealed were symbolic, as the most important stage in his theory was the phallic stage he said that most of these symbols where of a phallic nature.

For example long things such as pencils and bananas would be symbolic of the penis and peeling a banana maybe symbolic of the fear of castration or symbolic of an erection. From symbols used and from other information about the client’s life, the therapist is able to get to the source of the problem and interpret what they have found by looking at the different levels of consciousness and the defence mechanisms used. Once these interpretations have been mad the therapist would challenge the client by first making them aware of their defence mechanisms and the symbolism they have used.

Once the client’s awareness of these had been raised the therapist would either invite the client to suggest what they felt was the underlying cause or they would offer their own interpretation of what underlying feelings were causing the problem and then invite the client to reject or accept the interpretation. This would then raise the clients awareness of their own unconscious and force them to drag things out to relive the unsolved problem.

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 …

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