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Psychodynamic personality theories matrix

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  1. Psychoanalytic theory
  2. Individual psychological theory
  3. Analytical psychological theory
  4. Object relations theory
  5. Interpersonal theory

The psychoanalytic approach assumes that the psychological apparatus of the mind needs some kind of energy to make it go. Psychoanalytic theories place a lot of emphasis on how "the self" develops. The infant is born with no sense of self - this self gradually develops through its interactions with the world.

There are a number of stages a normal child passes through as its self develops (ages given are approximations). (NB: I use the term "mother" here because her role is typically emphasized in psychoanalytic writings. Sometimes "father" is not even mentioned - a source of further criticism of psychoanalytic theory.

There is one driving or motivational factor behind everyone's behavior and experiences in life. Personality and psychology is largely determined by environmental factors, including birth order, at an early age. The nature of one's driving force and their characteristic response is apparent through their psychological type, or the different energy levels. The ruling type is aggressive and dominant, with a high energy level. The learning type has low energy levels, seek to protect them, and rely on others in moments of difficulty. The avoiding type has the lowest level of energy, avoid people and life, and often become psychotic. The socially useful type has a health level of energy and social interest (this is the best type, based on Adler's theory).

Object relations theory is an offshoot of psychoanalytic theory that emphasizes interpersonal relations, primarily in the family and especially between mother and child. "Object" actually means person (Martin Buber, where are you now that we need you?), and especially the significant person that is the object or target of another's feelings or intentions. "Relations" refers to interpersonal relations and suggests the residues of past relationships that affect a person in the present. Object relations theorists are interested in inner images of the self and other and how they manifest themselves in interpersonal situations. Kohut's "self psychology" is an offshoot of object relations.

[...] Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw. Freud, S. (1900) The Interpretation of Dreams. Reprinted as Vol of Strachey, J. The Standard Edition of the Complete Pschological Works of Sigmund Freud. London: Hogarth Press House, Allan, D. M. "Brief psychodynamic interpersonal therapy after deliberate self-poisoning reduced suicidal ideation and deliberate self-harm." ACP Journal Club 136 (January/February 2002): 27. International Society for Interpersonal Psychotherapy. c/o Myrna M. Weissman, Columbia University Riverside Drive, Unit 24, New York, NY 10032. Trenholm, Sarah. [...]

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