Karen J. Prager, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.

Professor of Psychology and  Program Head for Gender Studies

Diplomate in Family Psychology

The University of Texas at Dallas

More Information About Dr. Prager's work

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Research on Intimacy

Processes in Couple Relationships 

Teaching and Professional Practice

Selected Papers and Publications

 

For Students:

 

 

"Neo-Freudian" Approaches

Students of Freud & his theory

Each retained aspects of theory & changed aspects

Similarities to Freud retained:

1. Emphasis on unconscious

2. Emphasis on the past -- early childhood experience

3. Emphasis on anxiety & defense mechanisms

Changes made to Freudís theory by other dynamic theorists

1. Increased emphasis on adulthood

2. Increased emphasis on ego functions

3. Increased emphasis on constructive behavior

 

alfred adler's psychodynamic theory

Highlights of theory:

    First to emphasize interpersonal and social factors.

    Proposed a model of mental health.

    Emphasized the strength of the ego.

Structure of Personality

Instincts are modified by the social environment.

What is the social interest in Adler's theory?

Strength of the Ego

What is Finalism and Fictional finalism?:

How are they related to Ego Striving and Style of Life?

Healthy personality

Striving for superiority:

Compensation for inferiority feelings vs overcompensation?

Inferiority feelings: Why is it healthy to grapple with them?

What are organ inferiorities?

Inferiority complex -- what is this?  How is it different from inferiority feelings?  In what way is it

a failure to achieve a healthy personality?

Style of life.

How do superiority strivings create a style of life?

What is the role of the ego in both superiority strivings & style of life?

Some styles of life are healthier than others, because?

Some styles of life are. . . mistaken (see these examples):

  • *Avoiding type: escapists, with little social interest.
  •                         *Ruling type: focuses on dominating & controlling others.

    Adler's Developmental Theory

    What is the role of the family in personality development?

    How important is early experience, and why or why not?

    Family factors that affect personality:

    **Family constellation:

    **Sibling rivalry:

    *Parenting practices:

    Socio-cultural forces:

     

    CARL JUNG'S PSYCHODYNAMIC THEORY

    background

    **He studied with Freud but they had a bitter, sorrowful break.  Why?

    **Formed his own society, the International Psychoanalytic Association

    Highlights of theory

    **Proposed a collective unconscious in addition to a personal unconscious

    **Incorporated Eastern religion and philosophy into his theory

    **Emphasized ego strivings over instinctual ones as central motivators of behavior

    STRUCTURE OF PERSONALITY

    I. Libido -- how is his concept similar to Freud's?  How is it different?

    II. Parts of the Psyche (total personality)

    A. Ego:

    1. selective attention and processing

    2. feelings of continuous identity

    3. a repository of attitudes: extraversion: outward orientation; introversion: inward orientation

    4. ego functions

  • a. information gathering: sensation vs. intuition
  •                 b. thinking vs. feeling

    5. 8 ego types

    The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator--inspired by Jung's theory.  What does it measure?

    B. Personal unconscious

    C. Collective unconscious

        1. and language. . . ?

        2. and symbols . . . ?

        3. and archetypes?

  • Example archetypes: persona, shadow, anima & animus self.
  • Jungís Theory of Mental Health

    I. Self-realization is the goal

        A. Goals & development

        B. Regression & development

        C. Individuation and transcendence

    II. Self realization is:

    Balance and integration of persona & shadow, ego & unconscious, mind & body, anima & animus, individuation and transcendence.

    Erik Erikson

    Background

    **Developed his theory by working with and studying childrenís behavior

    Highlights of Theory

    **Strong role of ego

    **Extended notion of environmental influence

    **Extended developmental theory into a theory of the entire life cycle

    Structure of the Personality:

    Like & unlike Freud?

    Role of ego?

    Erikson's theory of development:

    **Psychosocial:

    **Stages of development  -- thematic: centered on critical preoccupations

    Each stage a MILESTONE

    ** Epigenetic principle:

    Content of the stages:

    *Stage-specific preoccupations

    *Psychosocial crises

    The stages:

    Trust vs. Mistrust:

    Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt:

    Initiative vs. Guilt:

    Industry vs. Inferiority:

    Identity vs. Role confusion:

    Intimacy vs. Isolation

    Generativity vs. Stagnation

    Ego Integrity vs. Despair

     

    KAREN HORNEY'S PSYCHODYNAMIC THEORY

    Highlights of Theory:

    **Theory of interpersonal development of neurosis

    **Theory of social-environmental influences on personality

    **Emphasized importance of gender socialization

    Structure of the Personality

    **Basic anxiety

    **Need for security and safety:

    **Role of parents

    **Balance vs. neurotic trends

    Neurotic needs and trends:

    Neurotic needs:

    Exaggerated, intense, unfulfillable

    Neurotic trends are coping mechanisms:

    Defensive & interpersonal

    Neurotic trends come in four types:

    Move toward others.

    Move against others

    Move away from others

    **Healthy personality balances trends as situation demands

    Role of the Social Environment

    Two important aspects:

    Hypercompetitiveness:

     

    Patriarchal culture:

        "Flight from womanhood?"

     

    Harry Stack Sullivan

    Psychodynamic and Interpersonal in approach

    Highlights of the theory:

    **Maintained Freudian concepts of anxiety and unconscious

    **Emphasized interpersonal factors even more than Adler & Horney

    **Self cannot be conceived without relationships

    **Emphasized middle childhood and adolescence more than other theorists

    Structure of Personality:

    Anxiety a powerful (negative) motivator that stems from interpersonal experiences

    Primary defense mechanism:  selective inattention:

    Personifications

    Good-me & Bad-me & Not-me

        False personification of self:  When does this occur? 

    Sullivanís Theory of Development:

        Preadolescent epoch (9-12)

        **Teaches how to form caring, sensitive relationships

  •     1st intimate relationship with a chum: has psychological function
  • Early adolescent epoch (13-17)
  •     **Self-esteem, sexuality, needs for intimacy
  • Late adolescent epoch (18-20)
  • **Relationships more like adults, pressure towards occupational selection

    **Manifestations of early, maladaptive selective inattention manifested here.

    Eric Fromm

    Asked:  Why would anyone join the Nazi party?

    Highlights of Theory

    **Avoidance of anxiety motivated behavior

    **Cultural & political milieu influence personality

    **Authoritarianism an "escape from freedom" (and its associated anxieties)

    Structure of Personality

    Three pathological strategies to avoid anxiety and to feel powerful

    1. Authoritarianism &  authoritarian personality.

    2. Destructiveness

    3. Automaton conformity:

    **Psychological health = embracing freedom

    *Learn our true desires

    *Allow for spontaneity

    *Discover what we want to do & donít be overwhelmed by what we are supposed to do.

    Compare & Contrast Neo-Freudian Theorists

    Theoretical principle

    More emphasis

    Less emphasis

    Importance of parentsí behavior in shaping personality

    Freud

    Adler

    Horney

    Jung

    Erikson

    Sullivan

    Use of defense mechanisms to cope with anxiety

    Freud

    Adler

    Jung

    Horney

    Fromm

    Erikson

    Sullivan

    Instincts as primary motivators of behavior

    Freud

    all the rest

    Ego as performing a variety of complicated functions

    All the rest

    Freud

    Personal relationships as a primary influence on personality

    Adler

    Horney

    Sullivan

    Fromm

    Freud

    Jung

    Erikson

    Oedipus/Electra complex central determiner of personality

    Freud

    all the rest

    First 6 years of life are the most important

    Freud

    Jung

    Adler

    Horney

    Erikson

    Sullivan

    Broader social environment as a primary influence on personality

    Adler

    Horney

    Fromm

    Erikson

    Freud

    Jung

    Sullivan

    The unconscious mind is relatively inaccessible

    Freud

    Jung

    Adler

    Horney

    Erikson

    Sullivan

    Peopleís view of the future affects their personality

    Adler

    Jung

    Horney

    Erikson

    Fromm

    Freud

     

    General contributions and limitations of all psychodynamic theories

    Contributions:

    I. Profound impact on Western society & culture

    II. Personality development begins in childhood

    III. Invented the "talking cure"

    IV. Power of unconscious processes.  Behavior is multiply determined.

    V. The "psychopathology of everyday life."

     

    Limitations:

    I. Parts of the theories cannot be scientifically refuted (is untestable).

    II. The theories propose structures that cannot be observed or measured.

    III. The theories lack parsimony.

    IV. Freudís theory is excessively situated within one time and place.

    V. The anatomical determinism has not been supported.