History of Modern psychology Essay

Submitted By shametra30
Words: 1400
Pages: 6

Anna Freud’s Significant Contributions to Psychology

Anna Freud made many significant contributions in the field of psychology during an era when women were thought to be inferior to men. Anna struggled with emerging from the shadow of her brilliant father Sigmund Freud, and developing her own role as his colleague and successor of the psychoanalytic theory. She is a credited founder of childhood psychoanalysis with emphasis on ego psychology, defense mechanism, repression, and the discovery of child play. Her many contributions paved the way in the evolution of modern psychoanalysis and childhood psychology. In spite the fact that Anna never went to college or medical school, she became a pioneer of the psychoanalytic perspective and a chairman of the Vienna Psycho-Analytic Society. Anna’s background in childhood education and her own psychoanalytic evaluation sparked her love and interest in child psychology. Anna’s father is the well renowned father of the psychodynamic model. It is the oldest and most famous of the modern psychological models (Comer, 2005). Psychodynamic theorists believe that a person’s behavior is the result of suppressed underlying issues that he or she is not consciously aware of. They believe that abnormal behavior is tied to conflicts and traumatic experiences that occurred during childhood. Sigmund Freud noted three forces he believed responsible for shaping personality; id, ego, and superego. The id denotes instinctual needs, drives, and impulses (pleasure principle). The ego (reality principle) seeks gratification through acquired knowledge that it could be unacceptable to express one’s id impulses, therefore causing individuals to develop ego defense mechanisms to control unacceptable impulses (Comer, 2005). The superego allows individuals to judge themselves by the standards instilled by their parents, feeling good when they uphold their parent’s standards and guilty when they do not. Anna was particularly attracted to the ego’s influence on a child’s behavior. His theory provides the explanation of a traumatic event occurring during the developmental stages of these three forces. For example, if a child receives a punishment for exploring his body parts during the id stage, he may never feel comfortable with his body. He may view the curiosity of his body parts as an undesirable emotion. As an adult, this may cause him to feel uncomfortable with himself and refrain from healthy relationships with the opposite sex. Freud may view this individual’s abnormal behavior as a result of sex and aggression. Psychoanalytic practices include free association, therapist interpretation, catharsis, and working through. Psychodynamic therapists provide a comfortable setting in which the patient is asked to speak freely regarding any thoughts or feelings that comes to mind in an attempt to uncover any underlying event protected by his or her defense mechanisms. Defense mechanism is a technique used to defend against anxiety and to maintain self-esteem. According to Freud, repression is the most frequently used defense mechanism (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2008). Repression involves removing painful memories and thoughts from the conscious realm. It prevents the individuals from speaking freely, therefore exposing the problem. Therapists attempt to help their patients work through these dynamics. When working with children, therapists evaluate him or her in the form of play therapy. Anna was born on December 3, 1895 in Vienna, Austria. She was the youngest of six children. She was the only person in the family who shared her father’s passion for psychoanalytic beliefs. Anna was devoted to her father. She was his companion on his vacation trips and his nurse during his terminal illness. There are speculations about Anna’s sexuality because it was said that her father never expected her to marry. Her devotion and constant contact is thought to have contributed to