latent and manifest dream content Disguised surrogate, transformed by ‘dream work’ Disguised fulfilment of repressed wishes.
FOAR 701: Psychoanalytic paradigm overview
… complete theories do not fall from Heaven, and you
would have had still greater reason to be distrustful, had
any one offered you at the beginning of his observations a
well-rounded theory, without any gaps; such a theory could
only be the child of his speculations and not the fruit of an
unprejudiced investigation of the facts.
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Time spent with cats is never
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FOAR701: Research paradigms (2016)
Psychoanalytic & psychodynamic
Department of Anthropology
Faculty of Arts
• Overwrite and heavily edit.
• Be merciless with your prose.
• This exercise is close analysis
of a text – do not be vague,
but show in the text.
• You don’t have to answer every
Why choose these paradigms?
How does the combination
What issues are being finessed
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Sigmund Freud, the
dynamic and emerging
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Nothing in nature happens by
Nothing psychologically happens
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You have already noticed that the
psychoanalyst is distinguished by an especially
strong belief in the determination of the psychic
life. For him there is in the expressions of the
psyche nothing trifling, nothing arbitrary and
lawless, he expects everywhere a widespread
motivation, where customarily such claims are
not made; more than that, he is even prepared
to find a manifold motivation of these psychic
expressions, while our supposedly inborn
causal need is satisfied with a single psychic
Sigmund Freud (1910: 204-205)
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Apparently inexplicable acts or
thoughts have hidden motivation.
Variously understood: trauma, wish
fulfilment, drive that cannot be
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Child born with powerful drives
(infantile sexuality) and no sense
of limits (‘Oceanic’ experience).
The Self or ‘Ego’ trapped between
the desires ‘Id’ and reality outside
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Eros (libido, pleasure drive, fixates
in a fairly predictable way as
Thanatos (‘death drive’ - later
addition: drive for order, stability,
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Key points of
Freud’s early theory
• From Breuer, symptom is connected
to the traumatic origin of the
• Symptoms are condensation of
history; force of the disorder is the
• Therapy involves bringing
unconscious conflicts into
conscious awareness with support to
• Role of early development in the
shaping of individual psyche.
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‘Unconscious’ is actively removed
Nevertheless, what is unconscious
finds ways of introjecting into
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Paradigm: Analytical method
Inkblot test: Swiss
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Dream as via regia to
Masked wish fulfilment
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Structural model of
(id, ego, superego;
‘it,’ ‘I,’ ‘Over-I.’)
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Freudian theory of symptom (symbol)
• Connection of symptom to the
• Resistance creates the symbol to
• Degree of resistance leads to
greater ‘disguise’ of original idea.
• Utterly individualist theory of
• ‘Hermeneutics of suspicion’ (Paul
Ricoeur on Freud, Marx &
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Freudian theory of society
• During development, individual
faces a punishing society.
• Ego must continually negotiate
between excitation & energy and
the demands of world.
• Conflict between individual and
• Societies may not be equally
difficult to negotiate.
• e.g. Oedipal complex in
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We do not derive the psychic fission from a
congenital lack of capacity on the part of the mental
apparatus to synthesize its experiences, but we
explain it dynamically by the conflict of opposing
mental forces, we recognize in it the result of an
active striving of each mental complex against the
Sigmund Freud (1910: 194)
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Key components of psychodynamic theory
• Strongly individualist foundation for analysis (but not necessarily).
• Individual-level formative dramas crucial, with focus on conflict.
• Narrative inquiry (use of psychoanalysis as a method).
• ‘Psychologism’: societies & institutions elaborate core psychological
dramas or cause entrenched intra-subjective conflict.
• Emphasis on emotion, memory and mechanisms for resolving
discomfort or self erosion.
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Contrast of psychodynamic theory
• Epistemology: Deep suspicion of ability to easily know reality,
including our own psychic realities (psychoanalysis as arduous
Each individual is distinctive, so knowing mental worlds requires
careful attention to specifics.
• Ontology: Internal reality is determinant & mental forces are
considered very real.
• Methodology: Practitioners disagree, but many use a hermeneutic or
interpretive approach, including on non-obvious forms of disclosure.
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Strengths of psychoanalytic paradigm
• Complex model of human subject, including how biography
transformed into psychology…
• Unconscious, although not explained in the way Freud did,
recognised to be a crucial quality for much cognitive activity.
(Some support for possibility of unconscious emotional
• Individualist, but not a reduced ‘rational actor’ or cognitive
• Talking therapies have been shown effective and may not have the
same side effects as more pharmaceutical approaches.
More effective with some disorders than others (PTSD,
personality disorders, anorexia; but not with schizophrenia).
• Psychoanalysis has become cultural common sense in many
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Prominent strains of psychoanalytic thought
• Ego psychology: Anna Freud (mother-child relations), Heinz Hartmann: ego works to defend
itself & contain the id, successfully adapts and develops ‘conflict free’ zone.
• Interpersonal and relational psychoanalysis: Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, Henry Stack
Sullivan, Erik Erikson, Otto Rank (many ‘neo-Freudians’): focus more on relationships,
interactional more than intra-psychic, rejected strong focus on instinctual drives.
• Individual psychology: Alfred Adler (social relations, inferiority complex).
• Object relations theory: Melanie Klein (focus on mother), Otto Rank, D.W. Winnicott: close
relation to mother & drive to acquire objects.
• Analytical or ‘Jungian’ psychology: Carl Jung, quest for personal wholeness (individuation) &
shared symbols (archetypes).
• Lacanian analysis: Jacques Lacan, focus on language, self objectification (mirror stage, gap
between image & experience), radical alterity (Other, aspects of self that cannot be assimilated).
• Feminist psychoanalysis: Karen Horney (very early), Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva (attack on
Lacan’s phallocentrism), Simone de Beauvoir, Elisabeth Grosz.
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• psychology is probably one of
the few departments where you
would be hard-pressed to find it
• anthropology, cultural studies,
gender studies, history,
• psychoanalysis – therapy,
paradigm and research
• Pervasive influence on
Western popular culture.
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Criticism of psychoanalysis/psychodynamism
• Freud specifically criticised for focus on unresolved sexual
conflicts, misogyny (but his writing on femininity make it clear
he does not naturalise femininity).
• Unfalsifiable interpretive exercise (Karl Popper:
• Mentalist and contemporary psychiatry striving to be bio-
neurological (William Wundt).
• Freud mis-diagnosed patients, ignored physiological
explanations and missed what modern day clinicians see as
easy to diagnose issues.
• Socially naive in blaming children for what were the effects of
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Criticism of psychoanalysis/psychodynamism
• Quality of therapy depended heavily on therapist rather than
• Problem with cross-cultural validity.
• Psychoanalysis as a discipline became a centre of power &
replicated confessional practice (Foucault, Deleuze)
• Strongly normalising in approach to sexual and
• Interpretations of other cultures have been, well, appalling:
Primitivist, simplistic, preposterous (Totem and Taboo, Moses
and Monotheism, Civilisation and Its Discontents held up
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Thanks for your
Bibliography online at iLearn
Photos public domain at Pixabay
or as indicated.
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