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    Freudian Psychoanalysis

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    1. Freud was a physician by training. What was the role of human biology in his psychosexual development theory and the psychodynamic theory (id, ego, and superego)? According to those theories, what was Freud's conception of the mind-body relationship?

    2. Imagine that an existential psychotherapist and a Freudian psychoanalysis encounter the same scenario where a person seeks help with recurring episodes of serious anxiety. How would the therapist's role differ between the two therapists? How might each therapist attribute the cause or origin of the person's anxiety?

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    Freud both accepted and rejected the role of biology in psychoanalytic development. On the one hand, he viewed it as alien to psychology and hence, inadmissible as part of a theory. On the other hand, he referred to biological processes as the "bedrock" of psychoanalysis (cf Sulloway, 1992: esp 19-20). Instinct and drive clearly, are biological in the sense that they are immediate and precede thought. Later in his thought, Freud became bio-centered as a way to solve certain conceptual problems.

    He rejected any kind of one to one structuralism between behavior and biological processes. Yet, he was heavily influenced by Darwin. In his The Ego and the Id, Freud claims explicitly that the superego derives from his long childhood (that is, extended helplessness) and the Oedipus complex. He later changed this to the biological and historical causes. That is, the period of helplessness is biological, yet, the Oedipus complex is historical. The two variables work each other out and remain independent of each other (Sulloway, 1992).

    Freud's main fear was that biology would take over explanatory power from psychoanalytical causes. This would nullify psychology as an independent science. It might also be helpful to explain that the id, the pleasure principle, is purely biological, while the ego and superego, reason and moral rules, are of a historical nature (Sulloway, 1992).

    In general, Freud's relationship with biology is problematic. One way to synthesize his various views is to say that, as in his work on childhood anxieties, these are the result of biological ...

    Solution Summary

    The role of human biology in his psychosexual development theory and the psychodynamic theory is determined. The therapists attributes that cause or origin of the person's anxiety is determined.