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The Great Debate Essay

1940 words - 8 pages

The Great Debate

I'd like to know why, the other day, I had this random thought:
"I'm a bit hungry. I'd like to eat a carrot. "
Two theories would explain this seemingly unimportant thought as follows:
- As a child, you received positive verbal reinforcement for eating a carrot, and still expect such positive factors to happen if you continue such behaviour.

- You are trying to suppress your hidden cravings for violence and sex by sublimating your energy into random thoughts, although some unconscious "id" needs are being shown - after all, a carrot is a phallic symbol.

In the first part of this paper I shall summarise the concepts of Psychoanalysis and Behaviour theories, as in my view theory in itself is an argument for a concept. Theory is a collection of propositions to illustrate principles of a subject (Oxford Dictionary, 1976). Secondly this paper explores similarities concerning the theories, eventually leading to a conclusion concerning their significance in today's therapeutic arena.

Freud's Psychoanalytic Model:-
The data and observations are gathered from case studies of clinical practice in psychoanalysis, as well as from Freud's self-analysis. The key motivational forces are sex and aggression; the need to reduce tension resulting from internal conflicts. Personality is structured around three interacting components (id, ego, superego) operating at three levels of consciousness (conscious, preconscious, unconscious). Developmental emphasis is on fixation or progress through psychosexual stages; experiences in early childhood (such as toilet training) can leave a lasting mark on adult personality. Origins of disorders are unconscious fixations and unresolved conflicts from childhood, usually centring on sex and aggression.

In arguing that behaviour is governed by unconscious forces, Freud suggested that people are not masters of their own minds and that behaviour is greatly influenced by how people cope with their sexual urges (Weiten, 1995, pg11). Most psychologists viewed psychoanalytic theory as unscientific speculation that would eventually fade away, but by the 1940's psychoanalysis was so popular that it threatened to eclipse psychology entirely. (Hornstein, 1992). Because of the popularity of psychoanalysis, psychologists were forced to apply scientific methods to the topics of personality, motivation, and abnormal behaviour. In studying these topics, many of them saw merit in some of Freud's concepts (Rosenzweig, 1985). Freud re-awakened popular interest in the importance of the dreaming mind and stressed the healing power of interpretation by an expert psychoanalyst. (Siegel, 1985).
"To be concerned with dreams is a form of self-realisation"
C. G. Jung

What happens in psychoanalysis is that people tell stories with meanings, metaphors and symbols. They tell them again and again, in search of insight,...

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