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Psychodynamic Personality Theories Essay

Contemporary society is intrigued with the notion of human behavior as it expresses itself in our personality. Psychoanalytic model is most noted for introspective strategies such as depth interviewing and projective techniques, which have emanated from its theoretical perspective. Classical psychoanalytic conceptualization approached the study of character or personality in two very different ways, each deriving from an early theoretical model of individual development. In the era of Freud’s original drive theory, an attempt was made to understand personality on the basis of fixation.

Later with the development of ego psychology, character was conceived as expressing the operation of particular styles of defense. This second way of understanding character was not in conflict with the first; it provided a different set of ideas and metaphors for comprehending what was meant by a type of personality (Magnavita, 2002). The contemporary psychodynamic model of personality is very popular, particularly with clinical practitioners, and offers much that is useful for conceptualizing personality and personal disorders.

The strength of this model seems to lie in the power of many of its fundamental constructs, such as the unconscious, defense systems, and the relation among component personality structures. It is hard to imagine a psychology of personality without some reference to these and other constructs. The limitations of this model are many. Unfortunately, after years of perpetuating itself in a closed system, a crisis developed about the viability of this model.

Another draw back is the tendency to eschew empirical research, which would have established wider scientific acceptance. For many, the conceptualizations and esoteric language make it difficult to immerse oneself in what seems a dogmatic intellectualized system for those who hide behind language. In conclusion knowing where to approximately place an individual on the structural continuum is as much a clinical art as a science. Reference Magnavita, J. J. (2002). Theories of personality: contemporary approaches to the science of personality. New York: John Wiley and Sons.


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