Discussion on Freudian Perspectives

#1. Freud conceived personality as consisting of the id, ego and the superego. The model is shaped by Freud conception of mental aspects of human beings and the interaction of the different parts with each other. The id part consists of the instinctual drives and acts according to the pleasure principle, which involves the impulsive tendency to seek immediate gratification. The ego part involves seeking ways to satisfy the impulses of id in realistic ways to ensure the most benefit as well as reducing harm to the individual. It regulates the id part by delaying immediate gratification to ensure that the impulses are satisfied according to the realistic principle. For example, when a person sees an object, they like the impulse would be to grab it and possess it as theirs. However, such behavior is viewed as theft in the real-world. Therefore, the ego regulates the impulse by preventing the impulse to grab the item and instead, making a goal to earn money in order to purchase it in the future. Finally, the superego is an individual’s conscience and helps them to ensure their behaviors are socially acceptable. Thus, Freud described the personality of human beings as composed of these three parts, which can help a therapist to treat psychological problems.

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In practice, the three-part model involves examining for problems that a client may be experiencing. They may include anxiety, depression, and suicide ideation, among others. According to Freud, these problems are usually caused by a conflict between the id and the superego. In this case, the id has certain impulses that an individual is unable to meet due to their conscience or expected moral standards held by the superego. The next step involves examining the meditation effects that an individual’s ego has used in an attempt to reconcile the conflict. The mediation effects include defense mechanisms that help reduce the conflict. For example, a person experiencing problems at work may quit, in addition, an individual experiencing challenges at home may avoid it or even sleep a lot to evade the issues. Based on such an assessment, the aim of a therapist under a Freudian perspective would be to help the client realize the issues present in their life, which includes the conflict and the defense mechanisms. Once the client develops the needed insight into their current circumstance, a therapist can then enable them to realize their wishes and capabilities while at the same time accepting their personal limitations. Thus, a therapist can use the model in practice to help a client.

However, the model also has some limitations that cause to be unsuitable in some circumstance. For instance, when dealing with childhood trauma caused by sexual abuse, the model may not be applicable because it examines various aspects that may lead to false conclusions, which are not helpful to the client. For instance, repressed memories as defense mechanisms are emphasized under the Freudian approach. However, research has shown that establishing whether memories are repressed is difficult because they are not perfect records of events and are malleable. Further, traumatic events are remembered by the victims due to the stress hormones realized during the experience. Finally, Freud theorized that trauma is caused by the recollection of memories rather than the experience. Based on these observations, it may be difficult to use the model on victims of sexual abuse because it requires the therapist to hold certain views that are not empathetic to the client, which is contrary to scientific research on helpful approaches in such cases. For example, empathy for the victim has been found to be an integral aspect in cases involving sexual abuse (Alaggia, & Mishna, 2014). Therefore, since the Freudian approach does not have room for the therapist to incorporate such aspects in practice, the approach is unsuitable in such cases.

#2. It is common for people to dream when sleeping. The dreams involve vivid stories that include emotions that are generated by the brain when sleeping. Freud’s theory on dreams is based on the premise that they have a purpose and their analysis is important in order to reveal the objective. He hypothesized that dreams are attempts by the brain to fulfill preemptory wishes that are caused by impulsive argues during sleep. He further explained that the reason the brain behaves in the described manner is because it is disconnected from external events but not from its instinctual tendencies, which are not regulated by the eternal environment, during sleep. Further, motor activity is limited during sleep, which eliminates the possibility of taking goal-oriented actions. Consequently, the brain resorts to imagining the fulfillment of a wish, which reduces the pressure to act. While Freud theories appear convincing, he did not use empirical research to development, which is key limitation from a scientific perspective.

However, current trends on dream research deviate from the Freudian perspective of meaning. Instead, they associated dreams with emotional and cognitive development. For example, according to Desseilles, Dang-Vu, Sterpenich, and Schwartz (2011), there is an association between REM sleep and regional brain activity. Since a person experiences dreams during REM sleep, studying the distributions of r brain activity during that period can help establish the various the context of the dreams in terms of sensory, cognitive, as well as emotional features. Further, Sándor, Szakadát, and Bódizs (2016) examined the relationship between dreaming and cognitive development. The study examined dream reports of children between 4 and 8 years of age. They found that there were various characteristics in a dream that indicated cognitive or emotional development of the individual in their waking life. Thus, current analysis on dreams deviates from the Freudian perspective by avoiding the purpose and focusing on their association with an individual’s emotional and cognitive development.

My perspective on dreams is different from that of Sigmund Freud. For instance, I do not believe they have a purpose. Consequently, I tend to view dream analysis as a hobby-like activity since I do not believe they have a tangible effect on life. However, based on anecdotal evidence, I am more inclined to believe that dreams may be associated with cognitive and emotional development among people. This perspective is in line with the findings of Sándor, Szakadát, and Bódizs (2016). For instance, the researchers found that a dreamer’s presence in their dream was associated with effective executive control. In this case, dreams involve imagination and it is difficult for the brain to develop mental images of things that are not in memory. Moreover, children’s dreams are more likely to be incoherent compared to those of adults. Therefore, these observations indicate that emotional and cognitive development are involved in dreams. While the perspective does not negate that of Freud, I disagree with the position that dreams have a purpose, which in his case was wish fulfillment.

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Alaggia, R., & Mishna, F. (2014). Self psychology and male child sexual abuse: Healing relational betrayal. Clinical Social Work Journal, 42(1), 41-48.
Desseilles, M., Dang-Vu, T. T., Sterpenich, V., & Schwartz, S. (2011). Cognitive and emotional processes during dreaming: a neuroimaging view. Consciousness and cognition, 20(4), 998-1008.
Sándor, P., Szakadát, S., & Bódizs, R. (2016). The development of cognitive and emotional processing as reflected in children’s dreams: Active self in an eventful dream signals better neuropsychological skills. Dreaming, 26(1), 58-78.
Zhang, W., & Guo, B. Y. (2018). Freud’s Dream Interpretation: A Different Perspective Based on the Self-Organization Theory of Dreaming. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 1553.