Sunday, April 14, 2013

Psychodynamic debate questions and answers

How would psychodynamic assist the homeless population facing the effects of oppressive forces such as job discrimination, thus not allowing to rise above poverty?

  • question worded to portray the person as a victim, intending not to allow for any personal action that would remove the problem.
  • Learning to master the environment is part of Erikson's stages.

  • Autonomy vs. shame/doubt
  • Industry vs. inferiority
  • The oppressed unconsciously believe the evil image in which they are dominated, says Erikson (Greene, 2009). Oppressed people are dealing with an unconscious believe which is socialized, so they must expose their unconscious beliefs and challenge them.

  • strengthening resilience is found in people who come out of oppression, through personal responsibility (                               )
  • oppressive forces are not a new construction; people oppress each other in horrible ways all the time, and they have for a long time. The psychodynamic approach offers a supportive framework for turning into oppression and taking personal responsibility for dealing with it, by understanding how oppression has created a reactionary id response that prevents a person from moving through it, how it caused them to slip into a cycle of denial of their internal states to protect the self from anxiety
  • focus on resolution of disrupted development caused by the oppressive forces
  • A criticism of Erikson is his seeming inattention to the identity development process of women, minorities, and other non-dominant culture or non-European groups. However Erikson wrote prolifically about the use of psychodynamic treatment in overcoming oppressive forces, including women and people of non-dominant culture.

Erikson viewed the psychosocial crises accompanying the eight stages of development as universal, that is, as existing in all cultures throughout hx. --- These struggles are universal. Each culture may offer different solutions and institutional supports to life stages, but believed that all people would pass through various critical periods at a prescribed time.

The discrimination is the issue, not their subset.
It is not because they are gay, or black women,
it is the discrimination that is the issue, not who they are. Learning to undo the

How can using the psychodynamic approach help a person that is categorized socially as homeless, because they choose not to have a permanent dwelling and choose to live on the streets?

Is this client chronically mentally ill? If so, perhaps they require treatment. If the individual is not ill, this question does not establish grounds to justify tx.

We would engage, find out what they want, establish rapport, focus on the development of the relationships. Psychodynamic approach was the original approach that valued client-practitioner interactions. Detailed assessments are necessary to develop an individualized treatment plan which ultimately seeks to introduce the client to their unconscious drives, build resistance to impulsivity, and face things they have been avoiding.

Many culturals throughout the world have been transient. Human nature is nomadic. Humans were nomadic far longer than they were civilized. The focus of treatment is producing a corrective emotional experience by uncovering repressed events which have not been fully processed.

Furthermore, consider the case of a millionaire recently interviewed on NPR who discussed his preference of not having a single shelter. Despite resources, he chose to travel, staying in temporary housing for much of his life.

All of constructivism falls under a portion of psychodynamic theory. Psychodynamic is more effective because integrates the tenents of the constructivist perspective with the use of a trained

Both constructivism and contemporary psychodynamic theory value the client's interpretation of reality, themes of reinterpretation of self, and self-reflection. Psychodynamic theory flourishes over constructivism because an objective reality is asserted, so the treatment method is repeatable as long as the practitioner is properly trained. While constructivism offers little more than a mirror or sounding board for the client to use to reflect, psychodynamic theory includes this method along with a

The constructivist approach entails psychodynamics

It may be detrimental to a client to pull them from environment where they feel at home. The question does not establish a need for treatment.

The helping process involves uncovering underlying causes of abnormal or descructive behavior. Is his desire to be homeless destructive?

Using the psychodynamic theory, explain how you would assist a bipolar two type individual who has lost residential services due to the recent pull in funding for the mentally ill. The individual has no close family, and has not been able to yet find a replacement residential service.

It is not clear if you are speaking of the cuts to the the SCMHTC, resulting in a reduction from 100 beds to 50, or the $18 million cut from the Regional Support Teams, which are not residential but rather outpatient support for a variety of issues, including housing palcement.

 Build ego strength.


Using the structural model of psychodynamic theory, explain how you would help a chronically homeless client restructure their personality (id, ego, superego) to be able to remain on their feet (employment, sheltered, etc.)

What is the structural model of psychodynamic theory? Adler, Freud, Erikson, and many others have structural models under the large genre of psychodynamic theory. Please be specific.

If you mean Erikson's stages (from 1950 – the stages are a landmark development in psychological thought, but not functional in current scientific literature).

First of all, personality restructuring is not the purpose of psychodynamic theory. The purpose is to live healthier, more comfortably, and assist clients continuing on in development if they have become stuck.

Alleviate sx and to help people lead fuller and more productive lives.

How would a social worker using the psychodyamic approach assist a person that is homeless, b/c of the down economy – but is mentally “fine” and comes from a healthy family...

In the same way a constructivist would - help them access community resources. This situation does not appear to require a therapeutic intervention.


(last line)
The nature of social work practice already has enough variation between treatments and interventions due to unique patterns of interaction between the practitioner, client and environment. Not having a framework for treatment makes constructivism a true enigma.


One treatment method of psychodynamic practitioners is to enhance client insight through interpretation and re-interpretation of life events (Erikson, from Greene, 2009). Interpretation is a private language developed between two people in the course of an intimate association. It involves the therapist looking for a unitary theme that cuts across the patient's symptomology.  It is the role of the the therapist to enable the client to speak more freely and clearly.     This is the primary aim of the  constructivist practitioner, who uses language, knowledge and understanding that is “constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed”

What separates an expert in constructivism from a non-expert in constructivism, if a constructivist can not be an expert?

If the client is the expert, why don't they treat the non-expert practitioner?

What if the client decides that they don't need you? They are the expert. A constructivist cannot strictly follow their treatment method and continue treatment if the client rejects treatment initially.

Final Criticism:
Because constructivists reject objectivity, they reject science, standardized evidence, and agreement between each other as practitioners.

Psychodynamic practitioners don't necessarily believe that all behavior can be simply predicted, but that through retrospective analysis, can be tied to cause and effect. All behavior and mental processes are meaningful.

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