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Theoretical Explanations of the Causes of Depression

1. Choose three or more of the major theories (Freud, Jung, Adler, Horney) and describe how each would explain the basis or causes of depression in an individuals.

What can an individual do to worsen the symptoms of depressions?

What can one do to alleviate the symptoms?

Does the theory consider depression to be the consequences of determinism or freewill?

Solution Preview

1. Choose three or more of the major theories (Freud, Jung, Adler, Horney) and describe how each would explain the basis or causes of depression in an individuals.

Let's go with the first three: Freud, Jung, and Adler:

(1) Freud: The Psychodynamic View

(a) Causes

The psychodynamic view of depression, authored by Freud, anchors on the principle of loss. Therapists privy to this view of depression believe the root of all depression lies in the loss of something loved, whether it be a person or an object. The loss can be real or it can be imagined. In a study done by P. J. Clayton in the late 1970s, widows and widowers were studied for a year after the death of their spouses. While depression brought about by the death of a loved one is excluded as being a depressive episode by the psychological community, Clayton found that 45 percent of his subjects fit the criteria for a diagnosis of depression (Lowry, 1984, as cited in http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/why-dep.htm).

But what about depression in people who haven't lost a loved one? Freud's definition of what constituted a loss was broad. He deemed depression that didn't evolve in reaction to the loss of a loved one to be the result of "symbolic loss." Thus, rejection for a date could cause a depressive episode because the depressive has "lost" something, even if he or she never had it to begin with. In reaction to losing the object, Freud believed the depressive then develops feelings of self-hatred (Comer, 1992). The depressive begins to believe he or she is responsible for the loss. Freud also believed feelings of self-hatred develop from the depressive's thoughts about unresolved conflicts As a result of feelings of self-hatred, the depressive feels worthless and loses his or her self-esteem. (Comer, 1992. as cited in http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/why-dep.htm).
Freud also believed too many positive experiences during the first year of life could set an individual up for developing depression later on in life. Freud believed that if an individual is nurtured too much as an infant, he or she won't develop beyond the oral stage of development because there was never a need to. The individual runs into problems in adult life because he or she is used to receiving excessive amounts of attention and can lead to depression. If an individual is used to receiving 10 points of attention like he or she did when he or she was young, and he or she only receives 6 points of attention, then he or she will feel rejected, unloved, and thus inferior (Comer, 1992 as cited in http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/why-dep.htm).

The primary criticism of the psychodynamic ...

Solution Summary

Major psychological theories are examined. Specifically, this job chooses three or more of the major theories and describes how each would explain the basis or causes of depression in an individual. It also applies each theory to explain what an individual would do to worsen the symptoms of depressions, to alleviate the symptoms and if the theory considers depression to be the consequences of determinism or free will.

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