CSUB SW 200 - Conceptual Analysis of a Specific Theoretical Construct

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Conceptual Analysis of Psychodynamic TheoriesNameInstitutionConceptual Analysis Of Psychodynamic TheoriesIn the course of time, various theoretical perspectives drawn from philosophy,psychology and sociology have been integrated into the field of social work. These theories embody ideas regarding concepts that inform the manner in which social workers can understandand interpret the behaviors and circumstances of individuals or clients. These theories also provide a framework that directs the actions of a social worker in their efforts to help their clients. Notably, they describe the manner in which social workers should approach certain problems and how the social workers should intervene to help the individual deal with challenges. Some of the theories that have been applied to social work include systems, conflict, empowerment, feminist, psychodynamic, development, cognitive-behavioral, or transpersonal theories. This conceptual analysis paper analyses the psychodynamic theory and how it has been applied to social work with families. Psychodynamic Theory: Historical FoundationsPsychodynamic theory is a theory of personality developed by Sigmund Freud and has been applied to social work since the 1920s. This theory was first adopted into social work by a young professional Mary Richmond who used it to evaluate and treat individuals and families. Atthe time Richmond had developed the casework approach that was founded on natural sciences and while she had robust methodology, her approach lacked a strong theoretical context. This gap opened the social work profession to Freud’s theoretical propositions which were having a greater impact on popular culture during that period. Freud’s classical psychodynamic theory featured an understating of the development process of a child, the construction of the personality and etiology of mental disorders and their treatment. Consequently, Richmond’s choice of a clinical model resulted in the prominence of psychodynamic thought in social work. Additionally, the shift of numerous social workers into practice areas that were heavily influenced by psychiatry, such as work with war veterans and their families as well as child guidance significantly exposed these professionals to psychodynamic constructs. The diagnostic or psychosocial schools created by other early contributors like Charlotte Towe, Florence Hollis and Gordon Hamilton used the psychodynamic approach to describe and conceptualize complex behaviors in individuals. These authors tried to incorporate concepts like the ego defensemechanisms, the function of impulses in human motivation and stages of psychosexual development, into a person-and–environment model to describe the interplay of societal and interpersonal components. These undertakings contributed to social work practice that broadly applied psychodynamic ideas while maintaining the discipline’s uniqueness and psychosocial emphasis. Years later, when psychoanalysts like Erikson, Hartmann and White posited a more self-governing function for the ego, social work espoused this paradigm change as being attendant with the discipline’s viewpoint that people actively interacted with their environment and have the ability to grow and change throughout their lifespan. Notably, the development of the problem-solving method by Perlman was strongly founded on ego psychology. In the 60’s and 70’s, the psychodynamic principles were widely rejected by professionals in social work. These professionals argued that the theory’s constructs that described human behavior were overly deterministic, engendering a “blaming the victim” mentality. The theory’s unilateral focus on the intrapsychic phenomena was criticized as being insufficient to explain the huge social problems experience during that period such as sexism, racism, poverty and heterosexism. At the same time, other means of explaining family and individual behaviors were emerging including cognitive, behaviors, family systems and existential theories which significantly expanded the theoretical base for social work. However, while these developments expanded the theoretical repertoire for social workers, psychodynamic principles continue to be used by social work practitioners and act as a theoretical foundation for research in this field. Theimportunity of psychodynamic principles within this profession can be attributed to the transformations experienced within the theory especially the recent paradigm move to a relational emphasis within the theory; which echoes the traditional prominence of the role of interpersonal interactions within social work. Main theoretical concepts and principlesThe psychodynamic paradigm conceptualizes behavior as a product of intrapsychic mechanisms and the recurrence of interpersonal configurations that are regularly beyond the conscious awareness of an individual and originate from childhood experiences. The long historyof this theory constant modifications and variations among the key theorists around core principles and concepts. Owing to the complex evolutionary process of this theory, this discussion on the main principles will be organized around its four primary schools of thoughts including ego psychology, drive theory, object relations theory and self-psychology. Drive theoryThe development of psychodynamic theoretical constructs began with Sigmund Freud’s conviction that drives or gratification seeking biologically-based impulses play a seminal function in the behavior of individuals. At the outset, Freud identified self-preservation and sex as the primary drives for human behavior, but later modified these ideas to include aggressive or destructive drives. Sexual drive was described as pleasure across erogenous zones of the body, which within the psychodynamic theory shift throughout the psychosexual development of an individual (from oral, anal, phallic to genital). According to Freud these drives are indestructible rather they are modified into other forms. Initial libidinal phases emerge in relation to crucial nonsexual bodily processes such as suckling or anal arousal (when defecating). According to the theory, the phallic stage is especially crucial in the development of an individual’s personality since it is during this phase that the growing child undergoes and ideally resolves the Oedipus conflict, to ultimately create an integrated and mature identity. In the course of the Oedipus conflict, an

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CSUB SW 200 - Conceptual Analysis of a Specific Theoretical Construct

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