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Weakness in Sigmound Freud’s Theories Essay

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This essay will attempt to highlight and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the three main theories of counselling within the module covered this term. The three approaches in discussion are psychodynamics, cognitive behavioural and humanistic.

The psychodynamic theory originated from Sigmund Freud, a medical doctor and philosopher (1856 - 1939) founded in the 1900s. Freud developed his ideas whilst working as a psychiatrist in Vienna, collecting information from his patients such as feelings, thoughts and early childhood experiences.


The psychodynamic theory focuses on the unconscious mind. Freud’s credence is that different mental forces operate in the mind. The unconscious mind can be described as being like an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg represents the part of the mind that is conscious, everyday thoughts. The iceberg just below the water’s surface represents the pre conscious, thoughts and information that can be retrieved easily. And finally the base of the iceberg is the unconscious part of the mind where fears, traumas and bad experiences are contained, almost impossible to retrieve.

Freud argued that slips of the tongue are repressed expressions made by the person unknowingly. The term used for this is a Freudian slip.

Freud emphasized that early childhood experiences are important to the development of the adult personality, proposing that childhood development took place over five stages; oral, anal. Phallic, latent and genital. The phallic stage is the most important stage which contains the Oedipus complex. This is where the child (age 4 - 6 yrs) posses the opposite sex parent and wants rid of the same sex parent. Freud argued that if the conflict is not resolved in childhood then it could cau...


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...istic view, claiming that all humans have no free will. And that we are pre- determined by our innate drives. This is then seen as a weakness, because therapies such as the cognitive behavioural therapy and humanistic therapy prove that we can change the way we behave.

Another influence that is ignored by the psychodynamic approach on behaviour, are influences such as biochemistry and genetics.
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Another weakness in Freud’s theories was on his biased, sexist male view on female inferiority such as his idea of “penis envy”. Although Carl Jung developed the Electra complex, expressing girls do have sexual desires for their fathers. Resenting their mothers in the process. Freud became outraged by this concept, claiming that it was misleading to imply that both genders experiences are similar.
A concrete empirical base for the Oedipus has yet to be discovered.


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