Psychodynamic explanation of schizophrenia

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Transcript Psychodynamic explanation of schizophrenia

Psychodynamic explanation of
Freudian theory:
Tripartite personality structure
• Psychodynamic psychologists see behaviour as
the result of a compromise between three
parts of the psyche (personality)
Psychodynamic Theory
• In 1924 Freud suggested that
schizophrenia is a disorder that
emerged due to conflict between
different parts of the personality.
• If the upbringing of an individual has
been extremely harsh or traumatic, an
individual may regress to this early
stage in their development before the
ego was properly formed and before
they had developed a realistic
awareness of the external world.
Psychodynamic Theory
• Schizophrenia was thus seen by Freud as an
infantile state
• As a result of regression the individual has
delusions of self-importance, very like the
demanding and unsocialised behaviour of a
• Fantasies become confused with reality, as the
ego tries to gain control
• Hallucinations and delusions then emerge as the
ego struggles to regain a sense of reality
Schizophrenogenic mother
• Fromm-Reichman (1948)
identified the ‘schizophrenogenic
mother’ as a contributory factor
in the development of
• This is someone who is cold,
dominant and creates conflict.
These mothers are rejecting,
overprotective, self-sacrificing,
moralistic about sex and fearful
of intimacy
Evaluative Comments
• Freud spent very little time researching and
theorising the concept of schizophrenia.
• His ideas of the origins of the illness are based on
his previous philosophy of psychological human
• Therefore, a lot of the criticism made for his
previous works could be applied here because
essentially, Freud could be wrong about the
complete concept of the id, ego and super ego
structure (i.e. lack of scientific support).
Evaluative Comments
• It would be incorrect to compare all symptoms
of schizophrenia as being similar to infantile
behaviour – this only accounts for one aspect
of the disorder
• Studies have shown that parents of
schizophrenic patients do behave differently
• However this may the result of their children's
disorder rather than the cause