The Psychodynamic view of Schizophrenia

In this blog I am going to discuss the psychodynamic view of Schizoprenia.

According to the psychodynamic approach Schizophrenia is the result of the  disintegration of the ego. The ego is responsible for keeping control of the id’s impulses, it also has the responsibilty to strike a compromise between the demands of the id and the moral restrictions in which the superego has. There are some types of abnormal upbringings; an example of this could be if there was a cold, rejecting ‘schizogenic’ mother in the household; this could result in a weak and fragile ego, whose ability to contain the id’s desires is limited according to the Freudians. Due to this the ego could be broken apart by its attempt to contain the id, which would result in leaving the id in control of the psyche.

Due to this, the person could lose contact with reality as they can no longer distinguish between themselves and others. This will also affect their desires and fantasies and reality; to be able to do this you need an ego. They will start to regress to a state of primary narcissism which is a little different from a newborn infant, who is dominated by their animal instincts, incapable of organising their own behaviour and hallucinating as a result of their basic inability to disinguish between what is their imagination and what is reality.

Psychodynamics view of this is not highly regarded anymore for several reasons. In the 1950s and 1960s the development of effective antipsychotic drugs gave the biological view of schizophrenia; this became a boost from which the psychological theories have never really recovered. Psychology turned away from Freud’s triparite model of the psyche, the first influence was behaviourism and then the cognitivists as a mainstream. The psychodynamic theories then generally fell from favour.

The research that was done after the psychodymanic theories had fallen showed that the mother’s personality was not a reliable predictor of mental illness and the schizogenic mother approach came to be regarded as an embarassing, sexist holdover from a less enlightened time. There are plently of research which continues to implicate a disturbed upbringing as a risk in schizophrenia onset and relapse.

Due to the apparent failure of psychodynamic therapies successfully to treat psychotic patients, this led to the abandonment of this approach by all the most committed psychodynamics.

The Psychodynamic Treatment of Schizophrenia

Freud did not see much point in trying tp treat schizophrenic patients with his talk based therapy. Psychoanalysis involves the cathartic release of repressed material, which involved facing up to its true significance and a restructuring of ego-defence mechanisms to allow the person to understand and deal with their past more effectively. The patient needs to have some basic awareness of reality but in schizophrenia the divsion between fantasy and reality has broken down; this is due to the fact that their ego has collapsed and there is nothing for the therapist to engage with.

According to Post-Freudians such as Rosen (1946) where a little more hopeful and they advocated a ‘direct analysis’ approach in which the patient was brutally confronted with the nature of his/her own problems and inadequacies. The therapist attempted to bring about a regression to early  childhood and then would take on the role of parent/nurturer, thereby coaxing the patient to develop for a second time, the return to adulthood bringing with it a corresponding redevelopment of the ego and reconnecting them with reality.










3 Responses to “The Psychodynamic view of Schizophrenia”

  1. Causes of schizophrenia are believed to be of a ‘psychic’ nature.
    In this approach, neglectful mothers as a child is considered a cause for those later diagnosed with schizophrenia; which is said to result of a weak ego, which can no longer be capable for containing the id’s desires.

    The basis of a mothers personality being the cause of a child developing the psychotic disorder schizophrenia is turned away from, especially since progression of anti-psychotic drugs have enhanced the biological perspective of schizophrenia.

    The psychodynamic approach, for it to be considered, needs to hold more evidence for it to be considered a logical explanation, despite difficulty to falsify the theory.

    Schizophrenia has a strong genetic basis, where scientific study has found through numerous studies, including twin studies.
    Gottesman (1991) found in concordance rates that Monozygotic twins (identical) have a 48% chance of developing the psychotic disorder schizophrenia, where dizogotic twins (fraternal) only have a 16% mean rate of developing the disorder. This does leave room for enviromental factors, which still should be considered.

    Schizophrenia needs to be thoroughly evaluated through the many perspectives of psychology. Psychology holds itself as a science, baring evidence for research to maintain this scientific standard. Although the psychodynamic view of schizophrenia is that of a unique one, it cannot be falsified and therefore cannot be considered scientific material without evidence.

  2. The Freudian approach is one which has become largely outdated with the growth of modern technology, research and therefore knowledge. On the other hand there has been some evidence to show that in certain environments modern synthetic treatments are too heavily relied upon which can be damaging to the patient. Ray, Federspiel and Schaffner (1980) reviewed over 300,000 prescriptions in 173 nursing homes in Tennessee and found that there was significant health related evidence for the misuse of antipsychotic drugs. I understand that this research is over 30 years old and may have low external validity, however I have used it here as an example of how the drugs must be prescribed inappropriately.
    The disorder is also very complex, in that there are numerous factors that may affect the effectiveness of treatment. These include attitudes toward the drugs from both the family and the patient themselves, adverse life events, substance abuse problems or negative responses to the diagnosis. When considering the stress-diathesis model alongside these factors it is clear to see why alternative treatments have been accepted for those diagnosed with schizophrenia. Clearly Rosen’s methods, as mentioned in your blog, have ethical issues, however practitioners have come to recognise alternative, more structured approaches such as cognitive- behaviour therapy as a means of addressing the unique factors that may hinder the treatment of an individual with a mental disorder.

  3. Reasons for schizophrenia are accepted to be of a “psychic” nature.

    In this methodology, careless moms as a youngster is viewed as a reason for those later determined to have schizophrenia; which is said to consequence of a powerless sense of self, which can never again be able for containing the id’s goals.

    The premise of a moms identity being the reason for a kid building up the insane issue schizophrenia is moved in the opposite direction of, particularly since movement of hostile to maniacal medications have upgraded the organic viewpoint of schizophrenia.

    The psychodynamic approach, for it to be considered, requirements to hold more proof for it to be viewed as a coherent clarification, notwithstanding trouble to distort the hypothesis.

    Schizophrenia has a solid hereditary premise, where investigative study has found through various studies, including twin studies.

    Gottesman (1991) found in concordance rates that Monozygotic twins (indistinguishable) have a 48% possibility of building up the maniacal issue schizophrenia, where dizogotic twins (brotherly) just have a 16% mean rate of building up the confusion. This leaves space for enviromental elements, which still ought to be considered.

    Schizophrenia should be altogether assessed through the numerous points of view of brain research. Brain science holds itself as a science, uncovering proof for exploration to keep up this exploratory standard. Despite the fact that the psychodynamic perspective of schizophrenia is that of an extraordinary one, it can’t be distorted and in this manner can’t be viewed as logical material without confirmation.

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