Psycho-Analytic Theory

Psycho-Analytic Theory

  • Submitted By: lolo2
  • Date Submitted: 12/13/2008 2:28 AM
  • Category: Psychology
  • Words: 1600
  • Page: 7
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A Brief Outline of Psycho-analytic Theory


Freudian Theory
Freud's psychoanalytic theory, coming as it did at the turn of the century, provided a radically new approach to the analysis and treatment of "abnormal" adult behavior. Earlier views tended to ignore behavior and look for a physiological explanation of "abnormality". The novelty of Freud's approach was in recognizing that neurotic behavior is not random or meaningless but goal-directed. Thus, by looking for the purpose behind so-called "abnormal" behavioral patterns, the analyst was given a method for understanding behavior as meaningful and informative, without denying its physiological aspects.

The Pre-Oedipal Stage

Freud claimed that all human beings are born with certain instincts, i.e. with a natural tendency to satisfy their biologically determined needs for food, shelter and warmth. The satisfaction of these needs is both practical and a source of pleasure which Freud refers to as "sexual". Thus, when the infant, sucking at its mother's breast discovers the pleasure inherent in this activity, the first glimmers of sexuality are awakened. The child discovers an erotogenic zone which may be reactivated later in life through thumbsucking or kissing. Through this intimate interaction with the mother, upon whom the child is dependent, a sexual drive emerges. As this drive is separated out from its original function as a purely biological instinct, it achieves a relative autonomy.

During the early stages of childhood development, other erotogenic zones emerge. The oral stage, associated with the drive to "incorporate" objects through the mouth, is followed by the anal stage during which the anus becomes an erotogenic zone as the child takes pleasure in defecation. This pleasure is characterized by Freud as "sadistic" because the child is understood to be taking delight in expulsion and destruction. The anal...

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