Theories of Personality and Psychopathology

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Theories of Personality and Psychopathology

  1. 1. THEORIES OF PERSONALITY AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY The different theories deal with the same basin issues but differ in their emphasis, in their theoretical constructs and in their underlying hypotheses. No one theory can entirely and satisfactorily explain and predict normal human behaviour and the many forms of abnormal behaviour encountered in clinical practice. Many of the theories, however, have contributed valuable concepts and methods of treatment. HUMANISTIC THEORIES Gordon Allport:  known as the founder of the humanistic school of psychology, which holds that every person has an inherent potential for autonomous functions and growth.  Believed that a person’s only real guarantee of personal experience is a sense of self.  Used the term traits to refer to the chief units of personal structure.  Describe maturity as having the capacity to relate to others with warmth and intimacy and having and expanded sense of self.  Therapy is geared to helping patients realize the characteristics of mature persons: humor, security, insight, enthusiasm and zest. Abraham Maslow:  Self-actualization theory. EXISTENTIAL THEORIES: Victor Frankl:  Founder of the third Viennese school of psychology. LOGOTHERAPY: postulated a will to meaning – the goal of life is to find meaning and order in the world of “me” personally and for “us” collectively. BEHAVIORAL THEORIES: B.F. Skinner  Theory of behaviorism  Defined personality as a set of responses or behaviors. Harry Stack Sullivan  Described three modes of experience and thinking about the world. 1. Prototaxic mode – undifferentiated thought that cannot separate wholes into parts or use symbols; present in infants and in patients wth schizophrenia. 2. Parataxic mode – places temporal or serial connections but not logical relationship between events. 3. Syntaxic mode – the logical, rational and most mature type of cognitive form functioning.  Personality is seen as the self-system and is the outgrowth of interpersonal experience.
  2. 2.  Therapy requires the active participation of the therapist who is known as the participant observer and focuses on the modes of experience (especially the parataxic)  He believed that even the most psychopathic patient can be reached through human relationship of psychotherapy.  Best known for his creative psychotherapeutic work with severely disturbed patient. DEVELOPMENTAL THEORIES Karl Abraham  First psychoanalyst in germany  He explained depression from a psychoanalytic perspective and elaborated on Freud’s stages of psychosexual development.  He also linked the psychosexual stages specific syndromes. Alfred Adler  Formed the second Viennese School of psychology whcich focused on the will to power.  He coined the term inferiority complex – to refer to a universal inborn sense of inadequacy and weakness.  He termed masculine protest –the tendency to move from a passive(feminine) role to an active (masculine) role.  He was one of the first developmental theorists to recognize the importance of a child’s birth order or sibling position in character development.  Therapy is focused on encouragement, through which patients could overcome feeling of inferiority. OBJECT RELATIONS THEORISTS: Ronald Fairbairn  Suggested that infants are not primarily motivated by libido or aggression but by an object seeking instinct.  He replaced the Freudian ideas of ego and id with the notion of dynamic structures.  He also stressed that in addition to an object, an object relationship is internalized during development. Karen Horney  Her theory of holistic psychology maintains that a person needs to be seen as a unitary whole who influences, and is influenced by, the environment.  Personality is the result of interactions between the person and environment.  She proposed three separate concepts of self: o Actual self (experience) o Real self (person) o Idealized self (ideal)
  3. 3.  Therapy is aimed at self-realization by exploring distorting influences that prevent the personality from growing. Edith Jacobson  Viewed the infant’s experience of “pleasure or unpleasure” as the core of the early mother-infant relationship. Satisfactory experiences lead to good or gratifying images and unsatisfactory ones lead to bad or frustrating images.  Development is based on the evolution of these self-image and object images.  Fixation refers to modes of object relatedness, not to mode gratification. Otto Kenrberg  Worked with patients with borderline personality disorder. Placed great emphasis on the splitting of the ego and the collaboration of good and bad self- configurations and object-configuration.  Object relations not only constitute the building block of structure but also the building blocks of drives. Hence, the dual instinct of libido and aggression arise from object-directed affective states of love and hate. Melanie Klein  Evolved a theory of internal object relations closely linked to drives. Postulated that the ego undergoes splitting to deal with the terror of annihilation.  She viewed introjections and projection as the primary defensive operations in the first month of life.  Thought the Freud’s concept of death instinct was central to understanding aggression, sadism, hatred and other forms of “badness”.  Therapy: was instrumental in the development of child analysis that evolved from an analytic play technique where children used toys and played in symbolic fashion allowing analysts to interpret the play. Donald Winnicott  His theory of multiple self-organizations included a true self which develops in the context of responsive holding environment provided by a good-enough mother.  He also developed the notion of the “transitional object” (a pacifier, blanket or teddy bear) that serves as a substitute for the mother during infants effort to separate or become independent.  He viewed that transitional space in which it functions as the source of art, creativity and religion. EGO psychologists: Anna Freud and Erik Erikson Other theorists: Eric Berne Wilhelm Reich Frank Alexander Carl Rogers Carl Gustay Jong John Bowlby Otto Rank Adolph Meyer

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