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Psychology How important are the contents of the unconscious mind to the understanding and treatment of mental health problems - Essay Example

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Psychology How important are the contents of the unconscious mind to the understanding and treatment of mental health problems

The complex aetiological structure of mental problems implies that each potential cause must be carefully studied to understand its role in the onset of a disorder and eventually design an effective treatment strategy. However, despite the increasing body of scientific studies in the field, it is rarely the case that the research equally addresses each of the three major types of causes. Probably the most noticeable tendency in this regard is that the recent advances in the field of genetics and neuroscience have led to a situation when the biological causes of mental health and illness receive overwhelming attention while the psychological and socio-cultural aspects remain relatively understudied.
Fortunately, the increasing use of psychotherapeutic interventions in both understanding and treatment of mental problems suggests that modern researchers and practitioners are taking efforts to finally rectify the imbalance and acknowledge the role of unconscious in psychiatric discourse. Thus, the latest edition of the American Psychiatry Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) clearly demonstrates that "the concept of the unconscious is re-emerging in psychiatric discourse" (McAndrew and Warne, 2005, p.172). ...
Main Discussion
Psychoanalytic Theory (PT) is fully based on the epoch-making theory of the father of modern psychology Sigmund Freud. The key postulate of Freud's theory is that human being passes through a series of psychosexual stages over the course of maturation. Each stage is dominated by the development of sensitivity in a particular erogenous or pleasure-giving zone of the body. Each stage poses for individuals a unique conflict they must cope with before passing over to the next stage of development. In case the conflict is not resolved it will result in a long-lasting frustration. Such frustrations become chronic and in future shape the behaviour of personality. Moreover, people may stop at a given stage when they become extremely addicted to its pleasures. But whatever the cause is the result is the same: it leads to fixation of an individual at some certain stage of development (Gleitman et al., 2000).
Freud identified five stages of psychosexual development: the oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital. The oral phase starts from the moment of birth, when both needs and their fulfilment involve participation of child's tongue, lips and teeth. Mouth is the first zone of body the child can control and due to this the most part of his sexual energy is focused on it. Later, when the child can control other parts of his body, a certain part of his energy still remains "cathected" to his mouth. Therefore it is natural to have a moderate interest to oral pleasures (Frager and Fadiman, 2000).
As the child grows up new zones of pleasure appear. At age between two and four years the child is learning how to control the anal sphincter and bladder, they obtain much of his attention. The process of toilet ...Show more


Despite the plethora of theoretical discourses and thousands of empirical studies exploring every imaginable aspect of different mental conditions, aetiology of most mental disorders still remains unknown. However, the general consensus is that the causes of mental health and disease have multiple aetiologies produced by the complex system of interactions between three types of factors, namely: biological, psychological, and socio-cultural…
Author : wilmer95
Psychology How important are the contents of the unconscious mind to the understanding and treatment of mental health problems essay example
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