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Psychology essays

a) With reference to psychodynamics, precisely what cultural factors contributed to its development and, support the argument that psychological theorys must always take into account the way cultural factors have contibuted to its development

Our culture shapes many of our most distinctive psychological features as people. Culture is a complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art , morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. It is therefore only natural that our intelectual works be greatly influenced by our social sorroundings. Even more so in psychology. Being psychology the study of personality and behavior in terms of various conscious and unconscious mental or emotional processes. It is therefore adecute to say that; first, observations may be open to distorions, and second, it means that theories tend to reflect the mental sheme of the theorists.

Having understood the relation between culture and psychology, it is now important to state the cultural factors which have contributed to the development of psychodynamics. However, we must first understand the thoery itself.

The psychodynamic approach attempts to understand behaviour in terms of the working of the mind, with an emphasis on motivation and the role of past experience. This approach was pioneered by Sigmund Freud. This theory emphasizes the importance of innate drives, the continuety of normal and abnormal behaiour and the role of the unconsouce mind.

Freuds thoery of personality accounts for behaviour in terms of the dynamic relationships of the id, ego and superego. He described development in terms of five psychosexual stages distinguishing them by shifts in the mode of gratification; oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. Each stage is marked by particular challanges and conflicts; of these the oedipal conflict is perhaps the most significant in terms of later development.

As one can realize, Freuds theory is largly based on instictual intra-personal psychological processes. We shall now investigate what cultural events lead him to this development.

Focusing on Freud+s personal influences we can say he grew up in a normal european middle-class family. His father Jakob, was a Jewish wool merchant. The father, 40 years old at Freud’s birth, seemed to have been a relatively remote and authoritive figure, while his mother appeared to have been more emotionally available. This is perhaps one of the most significant examples of how Freud+s sorrounding affected his own theories. Consecuently, Sigmund elaborated a concept in which the father plays a central role in the development of the childs psyche. The castration fear and the eodipus complex are some of the most important fenomenas in his overall theory, which have a direct relation with the male parent.

After a series of events and shortly after his marriage Freud began his closest friendship, with the Berlin physician Wilhelm Fliess. Throughout the 15 years of their intimacy Fliess provided Freud with an invaluable source of experimentation for his most daring ideas. Freud’s belief in human bisexuality, his idea of erotogenic zones on the body, and perhaps even his imputation of sexuality to infants may well have been stimulated by their friendship, therefore, directly by his personal experience as a person.

Afterwards Sigmund freud committed his eferts to the realization of field investigations with case studies of so-called neurotic conditions, which included hysteria, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and phobic conditions. Patients with hysterical symptoms complained of shortness of breath, paralyses, and contractures of limbs for which no physical cause could be found.

In the course of interviews, Freud and his early coworker and mentor, the Austrian physician Josef Breuer noted that many of their patients were unsure of how or when their symptoms developed and even seemed indifferent to the enormous inconvenience the symptoms caused them. To explain this strange pattern Breuer and Freud made an assumption. They based it on the general scientific position of determinism: although no apparent physical causes could be implicated, these neurotic symptoms were nevertheless caused, or determined, perhaps not by one but by multiple factors, some of which were psychologically motivated. We can thus clealy visualize how the scientific culture of the time had a strong influence on freud and his partner. Determanism was a scientific position quite prevalent in the 19th-century. Darwin+s Origens of the Spieces theory was highly agnoledged by Freud. The fact Darwin+s theory supports the beleafe in every behaviour having a couse,is not coinsidental

Later on, the death of his father became a sad and desisive moment in Freuds life. He mentioned it as his most important event. Afterwards, freud began to take on a whole new personality much more pesimistic, which would be reflected in his later works.

Yet, not only freuds personal events shape his initial psychoodynamics thoery, but also broader cultural events and processes. At the time, Freud was in the so called late-victorian stage , named after Queen victoria of england.

Victorian time was relatively quiet, with the family being regarded by most Victorians as the central institution in society. A kind of balance was struck between the traditional ideal of “the gentleman” and the new ideal of the self-made man, allowing a place both for deference and dependence, on the one hand, and for individual advancement and acquisitiveness, on the other. There was far more talk during this period of self-help than there was of class conflict; indeed, the most comfortable social theory of the period rested on the assumption that class dividing lines could and should stay, provided that individuals in each class could move. Social discipline was particularly strong. In this atmosphere of strong discipline, class manners, and self-education, sex was a prohibited topic, only to be spoken with your wife or housband, and in certain cases, not to be spoken at all.

There was a strong debate over the moral acceptance of the prostitutes, reflecting a society and culture full of anxiety to accept new social fenomenas. These victorian ideas on sexuality would later inspire freud to create the basis of his psychodynamic thoery, in which, of the stages, all correspond to sexual ones. It was this daring yet revolutionary approach to psychology that gave Freud the recognition he had worked for.

Another important event which had a tremendouse effect on Sigmund on a personal level and therefore on a profesional level, was the Anti-semetism movment initiated by Germany, a few years before Great World War Two shattered accross europe. Being son a jew, he was technicaly a jew himslef, thus he was continualy being persecuted and discriminated. This movement further deepened his sadened spirit, depressing him more than ever. His attitude is reflected in one of his last mayor work, named : Civilisation and its Discontents .

We+ve been able to analize precisely the cultural factors which have contributed to the development of psychodynamics, by analizing mainly his founder, Sigmund Freud, as well as other psychanlisistts. We+ve established relations between their personal events which have influenced their works as well as those which deal with society as a whole and yet still influence their thought. But we yet have to support the idea of psychological theorys always taking into account the way cultural factors have contibuted to its development

As said in the opening paragraph, theories tend to reflect the mental sheme of the theorists. Therefore it is only natural that psychological thoeries must always take into account the way cultural factors have contributed to its development. This can be deeply supported by the examples we have


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