Psychodynamic Theories and Concepts

The present paper has identified that the psychodynamic theory focuses on understanding unconscious mental processes that cause psychological dysfunctions. The major postulates of this theory are: most of the mental processes such as thoughts, feelings, and motives are unconscious i.e. people may behave or develop symptoms in a way that is inexplicable to them. The mental processes may act in a parallel sentimental and inspiring manner. Thus the person may have opposing feelings towards the same individual which pulls him in opposite direction and leading to a compromise or defensive situation (Huprich, 2008, p5). Freud defined unconscious as having two types: preconscious which can be made conscious when attention is focused on it. While truly unconscious are those mental contents which are unacceptable and hence are repressed. These cannot be brought to the awareness easily. The unconscious does exist is proved by dreams which are the expression of our suppressed wishes and desires. The psychodynamic therapist views the symptoms and behavior as reflections of defenses against repressed unconscious processes (Gabbard, 2005, p8). These unconscious mental processes would cause distress if become conscious. The psychological mechanism that keeps these highly disturbing and distressing wishes or fears unconscious is known as repression. Repression is only one way to keep disturbing processes unconscious and avoid the distress. Thus repression is a kind of defense to avoid disturbing the psyche (Schwartz et al, 1995, p6)The psychodynamic theory focuses on childhood experiences as childhood is the crucial period for personality development which shapes the later social relationships. Mental understanding of self, others and relationships determine peoples reaction and psychological influences towards others.