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Psychoanalytic Approach Vs. Humanistic Approach

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Autor:   •  October 2, 2010  •  991 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,873 Views

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Mental disorders are dismissed by people today because they are internal. When a person has a cold they cough, when a person has sunburn they turn red or peel, but when a person has a mental disorder they... and that's where the debate begins. Do mental disorders truly exist? What are the causes? As a result of mental disorders some people exhibit a change in behavior or do things outside of what is status quo. That leads me to my topic - the psychoanalytic approach vs. the humanistic approach. One supports and provides reasoning for mental disorders and specific behavior, while the other states that behavior is based off of personal decisions. Although both the psychoanalytic and the humanistic approaches are well developed theories it is conclusive that the psychoanalytic approach is more useful and instrumental in treating mental disorders.

Both approaches defined:

The psychoanalytic approach, proposed by Sigmund Freud, is based on the idea that childhood experiences significantly influence the development of later personality traits and psychological problems. In addition, psychoanalysis emphasizes the influence of unconscious fears, desires and motivations on thoughts and behaviors. The humanistic approach, presented by Abraham Maslow, emphasizes self actualization and free-will. It is based on the belief that each person has freedom in directing his or her future.

The theorists:

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian psychoanalyst in the twentieth century whose studies and interests were focused on psychosexual behavior, psychosocial behavior, and the unconscious. He blames incestual desires and acts on neurosis and believes neurotics were victimized and molested in their youth. Congruently, this is his explanation for sexual urges in children. He watched psychiatrists fail at inventions of electrical and chemical treatments for mental disorders, only for them to turn to treatments that followed concepts of psychoanalysis. Even though drugs diminish symptoms of suffering he believed psychoanalytic or talking therapy would truly restore a patient's self-esteem and welfare. As quoted by Ernst G. Beier:

In order for neurotic patients to recover from pain and discover a life of purpose, I believe that they must regain their continuity with their earliest experiences. Early imprinting not only creates ego and superego, it also creates the conflicts that produce neurotic adjustments. An individual has to lift these early experiences into consciousness to mold a new life of purpose. (Kimble et. al pg 46)

In summation, the psychoanalytic approach delves into a person's past and life experiences to provide reasons for current behavior and allow them to overcome their issues. With understanding and confrontation of the past one can then meaningfully and positively face their future.

Abraham Maslow is a noted psychologist whose interests of study included abnormal psychology, human motivation, and personality. His ideas and research were greatly influenced by scholars who were behaviourists. In 1954 he wrote a book called Motivation and Personality. The theories presented focused on lower (deficiency) and higher (growth) needs. He is most infamous for his pyramid detailing a hierarchy of needs including: physiological, safety, belongingness and love, esteem, and self-actualization. People opt to satisfy lower needs over higher needs. Although lower needs are necessary for survival and physical health, one can maximize their psychological health and growth through satifying higher needs. He also states that our needs influence our values and our values, consequently, tend to determine our cognitive activities: attention, perception, learning, remembering, forgetting, and thinking. In Maslow's perception, people determine their fate by deciding to fulfill their needs when they want to fulfill them. Their behavior is self-motivated and reflects values of their life.

Advantages and disadvantages:



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