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Psychodynamic Theory: Childhood Experience is The Basis for Adult Relationships and Personalities

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Psychodynamic Theory is a collection of many psychological theorists which emphasize the importance of drives and forces in human functioning which is unconscious drives. This theory emphasizes that childhood experience is the basis for adult relationships and personalities. This theory is originated in Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory and includes other theories based on his ideas, including those by Erik Erikson, Anna Freud, and Carl Jung.

Psychologist Drew Westen gives a summary of 5 prepositions that generally enclose twenty-first-century psychodynamic thinking. Firstly, people’s feelings, thoughts, and motivations are usually unknown to them which also means that a deal of mental life is unconscious. Secondly, as people’s mental responses occur independently, they may experience conflicting thoughts and feelings towards a situation or a person. Next, one of the prepositions states that personality begins to form and develop in early childhood and will continue to be influenced or affected by the early childhood experiences into adulthood, mostly in the formation or development of the social relationships. Then, Drew Westen also states that an individual’s mental understanding of himself or herself, other individuals, and relationships affect the individual’s social interactions. Lastly, Drew Westen states that personality development involves learning to manage aggressive and sexual drives, also growing or developing from a socially dependent to an interdependent state in which an individual can shape and keep functional personal, or intimate relationships.

The psychodynamic theory presumes that Dissociative Identity Disorder is caused by an individual’s oppressed feelings or thoughts related to unhappy and traumatic events. An individual is subconsciously protecting himself or herself from painful memories by blocking thoughts and feelings. Psychodynamic theorists state that Dissociative Identity Disorder results from repeated exposure to traumatic experiences which are severe childhood neglect, abuse, or even abandonment. According to the psychodynamic theory, a child who experienced repeated traumatic events like physical abuse lacks the support and resources to cope with the traumatic experiences. Therefore, children will develop into many different personalities essentially running away or fleeing the dangerous situation where they are in as an effort to escape from the current situation. This process can protect the individual from painful conflicts or memories. Besides, the split in the mental process becomes extreme that more or least independent identities are formed and each of them has different unique sets of memories.

For example, in the case of Billy Milligan, Billy Milligan is severely abused by his stepfather. He defended against an intolerable and dangerous reality by dividing into different selves. An individual must have the capacity to separate or dissociate some of the memories or mental processes in response to traumatic events or experiences. An individual’s susceptibility to hypnotism may be one of the characteristics of the dissociation process. 

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Psychodynamic Theory: Childhood Experience is the Basis for Adult Relationships and Personalities. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 26, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/psychodynamic-theory-childhood-experience-is-the-basis-for-adult-relationships-and-personalities/
“Psychodynamic Theory: Childhood Experience is the Basis for Adult Relationships and Personalities.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/psychodynamic-theory-childhood-experience-is-the-basis-for-adult-relationships-and-personalities/
Psychodynamic Theory: Childhood Experience is the Basis for Adult Relationships and Personalities. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/psychodynamic-theory-childhood-experience-is-the-basis-for-adult-relationships-and-personalities/> [Accessed 26 Jun. 2022].
Psychodynamic Theory: Childhood Experience is the Basis for Adult Relationships and Personalities [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 May 24 [cited 2022 Jun 26]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/psychodynamic-theory-childhood-experience-is-the-basis-for-adult-relationships-and-personalities/
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