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Research Assignment Psychoanalytic Theory and Social Work (Essay Sample)


Understanding Psychoanalytic theory


Psychoanalytic Theory and Social Work
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Psychoanalytic Theory and Social Work
* Introduction
Social work derives much enthusiasm from the work of early novelists, especially in line with personality paradigms. The vast experiences and knowledge attained from these primary thinkers makes good ground into explaining the genesis of the self and its character. Given this pendulum swing of ideas towards expounding the self from the rest, it becomes critically important to analyze how the thoughts of these novelists make up personality (Aron & Starr, 2013). One critical discourse is that explained by Sigmund Freud in his paper about personality as explained in the unconscious effort (Giordano, 2013; Aron & Starr, 2013). Psychoanalytic theory explains how behavior is shaped by thoughts in the form of id, ego and the superego. The id deals with pleasure principle, the ego keeps the id in check with regards to reality and the superego looks at how the id can be satisfied based on morals and values of given society. The link between this theory and social work can be traced back to the time of the First World War when the demand of social workers exploded due to post traumatic war causalities. The marriage between these disciplines with war victims led to establishment of the psychoanalytic theory as a primary pedagogy in the study of social work across the globe. Although seen as grounded theory of impractical understanding, the theory has found its ground not just in psychology but also in understanding mental problems such as neurosis in psychopaths within American prisons, social injustices like race among others. Thus, the present paper aims to extrapolate psychoanalytic theory and examine how it found its roots into the social work discipline.
B. History
The global acceptance of psychoanalysis is drawn exactly from the founding father of psychology, Sigmund Freud. He became the trailblazer of modern psychology by moderating the ways in which the mind shapes behavior. Born in a family of three boys and five girls in Vienna, Freud developed interest in medicine from a very tender age. He was the firstborn in that family and after seeing how his household struggled financially, his career became clearer. Freud's interest in medicine became a reality due to his Jewish faith (Rana, 2017). Freud took his leaving tests in 1873 at “Leopoldstadter Communal-Real-und Obergymnasium” and that is when he enrolled at University of Vienna in the medicine faculty. In 1881, he obtained his doctorate degree and that is when his journey in neurology began when he was working at the Institute of Physiology as a research assistant under Ernst Bruke. Later on he opened a neurology center at Vienna. Under Jean Martin Charcot, he practiced hypnosis as a clinical mechanism for dealing with mental challenges.
Later, nervous ailments became his specialty where he concentrated specifically on hysteria. The first book he wrote was titled Studies on Hysteria and this came on the backdrop of major milestones on his theory of the mind in 1885. The Interpretation of Dreams and Psychopathology of Everyday Life were later influenced by the death of his father in 1901 and `1900. The latter work gained much acceptance from intellectuals due to the theories of the mind. The death of his daughter in 1920 inspired him to write Beyond the Pleasure principle and later in 1923 he wrote the Ego and the Id. It is in this final work that the structural foundation of the theory of the mind was established (Rana, 2017). He later died in 1939 from a recurrent cancer.
C. Theorist
Psychoanalytic theory is attributed to Sigmund Freud. He was born on the 6th of May 1856 in Freiberg which is a small town in Moravia part of Austria-Hungary. Freud was the first born in a family of eight kids. As a Jewish child his choice for a career was limited and that is why medicine became the ultimate choice (Bakan, 2012). Initially he had the dream of becoming a minister or an army general but all this changed due to religion. His mother and father were wool merchants and his father was very stern and authoritarian to his mother which made the boy to grow up in fear, respect, hate, and love for his parents (Engler, 2014).
He devoted his entire life in studying instinctual forces and how they developed into shaping human behavior. In his analysis, he identified the mind to be developed into hierarchical and ordered mental systems in which the top systems regulate the lower ones which are more primitive. Instinctual forces according to him emanated from dark center of an individual's mental life called the unconscious or the id. In his study of many clients as a mental physician, he noticed that the patient suffered from feelings of guilt which they had no control over (Perlman and Brandell, nd). In these discoveries, he realized the unconscious mind was the higher strata and it was much more complex than he had believed.
The first patient to be treated by psychoanalysis was Anna O, where Bruer recognized that the patient was traumatized by past events which led to the development of catharsis or in other words emotional release. It is believed that when Anna recalled the traumatic events, she explicably did so with so much intensity that at some point she could let out the feeling to the doctor present. The two doctors present Sigmund and Bruer believed that the patient was healed permanently because she could see the unconscious being controlled (Engler, 2014). The process of hypnotizing an individual became more profound way of dealing with these traumas in an individual and it became the cornerstone off psychoanalytic theory because he could recall the episode and develop ‘talking method' to his clients (Engler, 2014).

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