Psychodynamic Perspective: Psychology of the Unconscious Mind

Psychodynamic Perspective
What is psychodynamic perspective? Here is your ticket to understanding the concept. Read this piece, and be sure to explore the intricacies of the mind.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
To understand what is psychodynamic perspective, we need to comprehend what is psychology. The term 'psychology', is derived from two words, 'psyche' and 'logos', which literally mean 'the study of the soul'. This definition progresses and modifies itself to the study of the mind. We may conclude by defining psychology as the in-depth and detailed study and progressive scientific analysis of the mental processes and the human behaviors.

When we define psychology as a field of study, we consider the term 'human behavior'. Human behavior could be clearly dissected into covert and overt behavior. Covert behaviors are actions and emotions that lack tangibility. For instance, anger, pity, or jealousy that one experiences, is not visible to the human eye. Overt behaviors are actions, or behaviors that are tangible. The way we dress up, the manner in which we converse with others, are examples of overt behavior. The psychodynamic perspective is a sub-field of psychotherapy that is devoted to the treatment of mental and emotional malfunctions, or disruptions.
What Is Psychodynamic Perspective
The definition has a deep-seated answer, lying in the human unconscious. To elucidate further, humans have three levels of consciousness, i.e., the conscious, the sub-conscious, and the unconscious. The conscious is the current state of mind; the current events are recorded here. The subconscious mind is beneath the conscious, and is not easily accessible by the conscious mind. The subconscious is not controlled by the conscious. The unconscious mind is a sector that is occupied with memories that have had a negative, or unpleasant impact on an individual's behavior pattern. The psychodynamic perspective aims to work on the unconscious level of the human mind. Sigmund Freud, coveted as the father of psychology, explored this subject and involved himself with advanced analytical research on this specific field of psychology.
Psychodynamic Perspective Defined ...
By Sigmund Freud
The psychodynamic perspective had Sigmund Freud highlighting a very important concept called the three components of the consciousness: (1) Id; (2) Ego; and (3) Superego.

A defining term for Id is Desire.
The desire id puts forth is, devoid of reasoning abilities and consequences. The id is the dominant component in a child. For instance, a child asking for a slab of chocolate in the middle of the night, does not consider the inconvenience caused to his parents, or guardians, also ruling out the availability of the commodity at that particular point in time. Thus, the id is governed by motives that are selfish and inconsiderate in nature, working on the principle of what 'should be'.

The Superego is a sector of consciousness that is dominated by the Ideal.
The level of super ego remains dormant, until the individual has not garnered values, and imbibed beliefs. The superego is the emotional investment of the individual. The superego will always strive toward achieving the ideal behavior patterns, thereby working on the principle of what 'ought to be'. It retrieves us from indulging in activities that are contrary to the set morals or law.

Ego could be defined as Reason.
The principle on which the component functions, is what 'could be'. The ego proves to be A buffer system between id and the superego. It acts as a referee, when need or temptation, and ideals or belief systems, wrestle to nourish their superiority. It generates a midway that maintains tranquility between the two opposing imports of the conscious.

The psychoanalytic perspective also consists of a stage, where children go through a phase referred to, as the psychosexual stage, where the id plays a dominant role. The id desires and simultaneously attains pleasure, through the developing erogenous zones. However, when the child finds it difficult to navigate through this stage, he/she, is said to have developed a fixation. A fixation at the phallic stage, may lead to the child, developing the Oedipus complex (in boys), and Electra complex (in girls). The Oedipus complex is characterized by the boy child, developing a sense of competition with his father, to seek his mother's attention. When the girl child develops the aforementioned feeling toward her mother, to gain attention from her father, is termed as the Electra complex. Children at this stage feel threatened; however, they overcome the same by associating with parents of the same gender.
By Carl Jung
The perspective was further elucidated by a Swiss Psychiatrist and thinker, named Carl Gustav Jung. Jung was a former disciple, and a close friend of Sigmund Freud. He later bifurcated, in order to develop his own theory on the psychodynamic perspective. Carl Jung had a different point of view on the subject of consciousness, and thus he was called a Neo-Freudian. Carl Jung developed a theory called collective conscious.

The Collective Conscious could be referred to as the universal conscious, shared by all, consisting of symbolic, or a perceptual structure, called Archetypes.

In the most primary terminology, it could be described, as the mirror image of our past that we encounter in the present. An action conducted in the present, has its roots in the past behaviors or experiences. When an individual cannot link and place the blocks of the past, and the present, the predominant requirement is a psychoanalysis therapy that will help the individual to unravel the dominant reason that rules his or her behavior patterns. Methods, like free association, could be employed by the therapist, to aid the individual to understand his own behavioral discrepancies. In free association, the individual undergoing therapy is asked to say anything that comes to mind. The content or the information spelled, should not be filtered. It should be a free stream of thought, flowing through the reservoir of consciousness. Thoughts, random experiences ... anything could be narrated. The individual need not feel embarrassed about any incident, or experience. The root cause of a particular behavior could be procured, only if the client is free, and open about his life events. The client and the therapist must share a good rapport with each other, which helps him to confide in the therapist, all the more.

Examples Include:
Obsessive behavior patterns that divert our understanding to irrational behaviors, for instance, an obsessive-compulsive disorder of washing hands innumerable times during the day could have its roots buried in an incident or experience that took place years ago, perhaps in one's childhood days.
Habituated behaviors, such as nail-biting, might have reasons sealed within the sac of experiences that caused grave amounts of anxiety to the individual.
Phobias could also be a cause that must have led the individual to become averse to a specific idea or activity. Agoraphobia -- a phobia of open spaces in situations from which it is difficult to escape, or even avoid -- may cause anxiety and panic attacks to those, who have had an unfavorable experience earlier.
Psychodynamic perspective is a very interesting field of study. I hope you have garnered the information you required, and sincerely trust that this article has made you confident enough, to explain this principle of psychology with ease to anyone who would like to explore its depths.