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Psychodynamic Theories and Interpersonal Relationships Essay

The Psychodynamic approach is concerned with how important man’s development experiences are in shaping his or her personality traits, such as conflicting feelings, interpersonal interactions, sources of motivation, and defense mechanism. It is founded on the premise that human behavior and relationships are defined by conscious and unconscious elements, a combination of external reality and internal drives (Averbuch, n. d. ). Psychodynamic Personality theorists attribute adult behavior, especially the way people relate to others, to unresolved childhood conflicts and tendencies.

A person’s relationship with another is thus formed by one’s own personal choice to be with the other. Yet, the bond or attraction felt for the other and how he or she interacts in the relationship has already been determined by antecedent events. According to Freud, people are passive creatures (Averbuch, n. d. ). Instead of being drivers of their own lives, people are just driven by their need to express or repress their desires and fixations. Freud’s Oedipal Conflict explains why people unconsciously get on good terms and grow up to be very similar to their own parents.

During childhood, boys and girls fall for their opposite-sex parent but are both unsuccessful and left unable to do anything about their desire. The solution ultimately ends up in their identification with their same sex parent. All the way to their adulthood, people carry on the traits their same-sex parents have and similarly look for their opposite-sex parent’s traits in the people they meet. At times, some people feel a strong dislike for certain kinds of people; they cannot explain it but they just fear or hate a particular person or the characteristics of this person.

On the other hand, one may find a certain similarity among all his or her friends and lovers; one finds that he or she is easily enamoured by a certain group of people or characteristic. This is what both Freud’s theory on repressed memories and dreams and Carl Jung’s archetypes aim to explain. Freud theorized that a woman who is uncomfortable around men may be found to be repressing memories of sexual abuse when she was a child. According to Freud, repression is a way for people to block out emotionally painful events from their awareness so that they also do not have to experience the pain it brings (Richmond, 2008).

Freud also interpreted dreams to make sense of how and why people interacted in such manners. He found a strong link between dreams and repressed emotions believing that dreams valid psychological activities that could be analyzed in depth. Dreams are disguised or repressed wishes lacking only in their visibility (Chiriac, 2008). In the case of the woman who was sexually abused as a child, she may have nightmares or dreams hinting on her repressed memory and her unconscious need for justice.

Moreover, there are people that seem very familiar despite the fact that one has never met them before; they are the kind that are generally liked or disliked by everyone. One example would be an old, gentle-looking, male university professor. He just seems so smart and kind-hearted. The professor fits most people’s mental image of someone intelligent and trustworthy. Jung called this man an archetype for the wise old man – the better voice of heroes, the knowledgeable sage. Jung’s archetypes are products of the collective unconscious (Glassman, 2007); symbolic patterns or characters that people as if by instinct seem to know and understand.

Jung described many kinds of archetypes such as the mother archetype – a caring person in one’s life; the child – giddy and innocent but with who people see great potentials; and the shadow, mysterious, dark and unknown parts of ourselves. People can knowingly make conscious decisions about interpersonal relationships that they have, they want to have, and they choose not to have with others. However, there are these relationship patterns that people unconsciously commit, patterns they can not break away from.

Examples are somehow constantly falling for the jerk, avoiding befriending a certain type of person, looking for particular qualities in a partner, and preferring a small group of friends over a large one. People instinctually choose what is beneficial for him or her. He or she operates and forms new or continuous relationships with others by his or her own system of unspoken expectations and underlying beliefs. References Averbuch, R. (n. d. ).

Psychodynamic Theories of Behavior [PDF Document]. Retrieved from http://72. 14. 235. 132/search? q=cache:GCw6cJQFkicJ:homepages. wmich. edu/~macdonal/SW%25206660. 05%2520Individuals/psychodynamics. ppt+psychodynamic+theories&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=ph Chiriac, J. (2008). Dream Interpretation and Psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud – Life and Work. Retrieved November 20, 2008, from http://freudfile. org/psychoanalysis/dream_interpretation_and. html Glassman, W. (2007). The Psychodynamic Approach. Retrieved November 20, 2008, from http://www. ryerson. ca/~glassman/psychdyn. html#Jung Richmond, R. L. (2008). Repressed Memories. A Guide to Psychology and its Practice. Retrieved November 20, 2008, from http://www. guidetopsychology. com/repressn. htm


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