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Behavioral Theories and Sigmund Freud

by Helen Farrell, MD
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    00:01 We're going to review defense mechanisms.

    00:03 And first, it's important to be familiar with some of the behavior theorists who gave rise to our thinking about defense mechanisms.

    00:12 Behavior theory, when we think about that, we often think of Sigmund Freud.

    00:17 He believes that behaviors result from unconscious mental processes including defense mechanisms and conflicts between one's ego id, super ego and external reality.

    00:34 We'll talk a little bit more about Freud now. So, who was he? Well, he's an Austrian born neurologist, considered the founder of Psychoanalysis.

    00:43 And he developed both topographic and structural theories of the mind, which will review in more details soon. Some other theorists you might wanna be familiar with include Melanie Klein. She was an Austrian-British psychoanalyst, she's known for her work in child psychology and also psychoanalysis.

    01:05 She's a leader in object relations theory. Melanie Klein developed a psyche in relation...

    01:13 believed that people develop the psyche in relation to others in the environment during their childhood.

    01:18 So what is the psyche? You might ask. It's the totality of the conscious and unconscious mind.

    01:25 The first object Klein hypothesized in someone is usually an internalized image of their mother, or maybe whoever that primary care giver was when someone was an infant.

    01:40 Heinz Kohut is an Austrian-American, he practiced psychoanalysis and he's best to known for his development of self-psychology. So, self-psychology means that, Kohut hypothesized an individual has a three-part self.

    01:58 And we can only develop when the needs of one's self states including one's sense of worth, well being are met within relationships to others. Margaret Mahler is a Hungarian physician, who later gained interest in psychiatry. She became a psychoanalyst and she was interested in the ''self'' of children and developed the separation individuation theory of child development.

    02:28 We're gonna review a little bit more about Freud and what he thought.

    02:33 So, Freud's theory of the mind, he believed that thoughts that are out of one's awareness are repressed thoughts or part of our unconscious process.

    02:45 Further more he believed that the preconscious includes memories or thoughts that are just below the surface but can with effort be brought into reality, or into the conscious which is ones current thoughts that are completely in our own awareness.

    03:05 The primary process thinking or part of the unconscious is primitive and involves pleasure seeking urges with no regard to logic or time.

    03:17 And it's prominent in children and those with psychotic disorders.

    03:21 According to Freud's structural theory of the mind, we all have an id, ego, and a superego.

    03:28 So the id is really our unconscious state, while the ego is our conscious self-awareness state.

    03:35 And the superego is similar to that preconscious, it really balances out the id and the ego.

    03:42 Again, the unconscious is out of our awareness and can actually include sexual and aggressive urges whereas the ego is the mediator between the id and the external environment.

    03:56 The ego's job is to develop gratifying interpersonal relationships.

    04:01 It relies on defenses to achieve this and to control our most primitive urges.

    04:07 And the superego of course is that moral conscience that we all have.

    04:13 Problems with reality testing often occur in psychotic individuals.

    04:19 Defense mechanisms are used by the ego to protect oneself and relieve anxiety by keeping conflicts out of our awareness. And the unconscious processes that are normal and healthy when used in moderation, also define our defense mechanisms.

    04:39 There are several different groups of defense mechanisms. We categorized them as mature, neurotic, and immature. We'll go on to talk about examples of these in more detail in a later lecture. For now, maybe you could start thinking about what types of defenses would you define as mature, neurotic, or immature. For now, that concludes our discussion of some of the theorists behind defense mechanisms. You've now heard of some of the most important contributors to the field of psychiatry and a little bit about what they offered to our field and how we can better understand defenses according to their different theories.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Behavioral Theories and Sigmund Freud by Helen Farrell, MD is from the course Personality Disorders. It contains the following chapters:

    • Behavior Theories
    • Sigmund Freud
    • Freud's Theories of the Mind

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Behaviors result from unconscious mental processes, including defense mechanisms and conflicts
    2. Behaviors result from a conscious mental process, including defense mechanisms and conflicts
    3. Behaviors result from planned actions resulting from defense mechanisms and conflicts
    4. Behaviors result due to conflicting defense mechanisms between ego and superego, leading to an ultimately planned action
    5. Behaviors are conscious efforts to resolve the conflicts between ego and external reality
    1. Melanie Klein believed that people developed a psyche in relation to their inbuild defense mechanisms
    2. Sigmund Freud is the founder of psychoanalysis and developed both the topographic and structural theories of mind
    3. Melanie Klein is an Austrian-British psychoanalyst known for her work in child psychology and psychoanalysis
    4. According to Melanie, the first object in someone is usually an internalized image of one’s mother
    5. Heinz Kohut developed the theory of self-psychology which he hypothesized as having a three-part self
    1. Memories/thoughts that are just below the surface but can be brought into awareness
    2. Thoughts that are out of one’s awareness
    3. Thoughts that are in complete awareness
    4. Thoughts due to the influence of an outside mind/person
    5. Thoughts which keep changing based on the situation
    1. Ego
    2. ID
    3. Superego
    4. Ego and superego
    5. ID and ego
    1. The mechanism is used by the ego to protect oneself and relieve anxiety by keeping conflicts out of awareness
    2. The mechanism is used by the superego to protect oneself and relieve anxiety by analyzing conflicts subconsciously
    3. The mechanism is used by the ego to protect oneself and relieve itself from conflicts by involving the ID and superego
    4. The mechanism is used by the ID to protect oneself and relieve anxiety by solving the conflicts with a conscious mind
    5. The mechanism is used by the ego to protect oneself and relieve stress by consciously addressing all the conflicts

    Author of lecture Behavioral Theories and Sigmund Freud

     Helen Farrell, MD

    Helen Farrell, MD


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