1 Social Theories for Social Work 1 Understanding and Using Psycho-dynamic Theories in Social Work Adapted from the work of Phil Lee Hull School of Social. - презентация
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1 Social Theories for Social Work 1 Understanding and Using Psycho-dynamic Theories in Social Work Adapted from the work of Phil Lee Hull School of Social Work, UOL
2 What this session will cover What is psycho-dynamic theory? Freuds Contribution – as philosopher / doctor The Human Mind – libido; stages of childhood development; Oedipus complex; id, ego & superego; defence mechanisms Does any of this make any sense - fit in with our own experiences? What Use is all this to Social Work? Later developments – particularly attachment theory Strengths and weaknesses – as a theory, and as a guide to practice
3 What is psycho-dynamic theory? The MIND is central - unlike in behaviourism Both conscious and unconscious mind -biological aspects -cognitive -affective dimensions / feelings All of this is taking place within our minds: -singly and interactively Taking account of the culture - social environment Recognition of actual and potential conflicts within us & between our selves & the environment OK, but what does it have to offer as a theory and a guide to social work practice?
4 Freuds Contribution – philosopher and doctor As a philosopher interested in: Mental functioning – the mind How civilisation was possible (after Darwins revelations) How humans think distinctively As a doctor interested in: Behaviours that caused distress and not seen as normal – hysteria; neuroses; phobias; irrational fears In short, Mental illnesses / mental disorder
5 a)Civilisation – How is it Possible? Humans are directed by 2 conflicting principles: -Pleasure – provides energy and drives us to do what pleases us -Reality – attempts to subordinate pleasure to immediate vital tasks Reality Principle subordinates through the mechanism of sublimation : …..desires that cannot or should not be fulfilled can be sublimated – the direction of their energy altered – into activities that allow us to be more productive
6 Example – Sexual Pleasure Sex is pleasurable – but can human beings pursue it without rules? Such as ages of consent? Monogamy v polygamy? So, Sexual energy/desire is sublimated Without these types of processes – altering basic instinctual drives – civilisation would not be possible But original sexual desires do not disappear - some of them become packed away – or repressed - into the unconscious
7 b) The Human Mind The unconscious contains repressed desires - that the conscious mind cannot deal with This unconscious mind is not easily accessible but can reveal itself in: -dreams – symbolic fulfilments of wishes that have been repressed -slips of tongue – revealing repressions -jokes – indication of repressed wishes These all involve condensation – complex meanings being rendered into more simple ones, and displacement – one image or symbol gets pushed onto something closely associated with it
8 Mental Distress Freud rejected the conventional physiological explanations of abnormal behaviour He recognised that the key to explaining much mental distress lay in the study of normal human behaviour All behaviour could only be understood by seeking out its meaning for the person This was not easy – the unconscious etc – and required a method of analysis
9 Libido – The Force For Freud – as we have seen - humans are driven by an energy (drives) directing what we think and do Untrammelled the human is a seething cauldron of fear, emotion and irrationality At root is the Libido – sexual desire – but not simply genital sexual desire Freud later argued that aggression too was part of this libidinal force (the natural fight v flight instinct)
10 Stages of Childhood Development For Freud the newly born child was anarchic, sadistic, aggressive, self-involved & remorselessly pleasure seeking. He identified specific developmental phases: Oral – ingesting - allows selfs boundaries to be established Anal – expelling – toilet training boundaries between inside/ outside Phallic – pleasure principle - centred upon sexual identity So, people can become stuck &/or return to one stage: eg: Anal – excessive tidiness; Oral – excessive eating, smoking, drinking; Phallic – attention seeking, flamboyant dress, loud displays
11 Id, Ego & Superego During childhood, psycho-social development Freud also identified 3 concepts within the human subjects mind: Id – the Unconscious source of untrammelled instinctual drives/irrational impulses wanting immediate gratification Ego – the control centre – conscious and unconscious attempts to meet the demands of the Id. So, love and work are socially acceptable ways to satisfy the Ids desire for sex and aggression. Superego – the internal judge – the value base of parents, peers, family, society. It punishes or praises accordingly
12 The Developed Adult So we all develop – influenced expressly by the way we have experienced these various necessary developments Of crucial importance is the nature of our early up-bringing – particular our relationship with our parents and other siblings Each of us is unique – for Freud we can see the imprints of how we have negotiated the stages he describes through the defence mechanisms that we employ as an adult
13 Defence Mechanisms These distort/falsify our experiences to make it easier to face - & they operate on an unconscious level Two very common defence mechanisms: 1. Fixation If too much gratification is received at any psychosexual stage, the person may become stuck / fixated, and return to that stage when stressed. 2. Repression An ego defence mechanism, when the ego pushes discomforting thoughts into the unconscious, to protect a persons self image.
14 What Use is all this to Social Work? Very influential in early periods as social work established its most secure theoretical base in Child Guidance clinics, in Mental Health settings, in Counselling………the psychodynamic casework. There clearly is important insights here for social work. What are they?
15 Insights such as……….. That how people form early attachments has enormous implications for their lives Peoples early experiences can be crucial, & have crucial - possibly damaging - effects People can be very well protected – so much so that it is very tough for them to see their own fallibilities; they lack insight How relationships can cause stress for people – even when there is no such intent That many people suffer psychological distress without being fully aware of it That many of our social conventions protect power holders & are impositions
16 Later Psycho-dynamic Developments After 2 nd World War – British psycho - dynamic thinkers split into 3 groups: - Anna Freud - Melanie Klein - The Middle Group – Bowlby, Rutter & Winnicott This latter group developed Attachment Theory, which has undoubtedly been – and remains – very important in child care social work.
17 Social Workers need to be able to : Evaluate the quality of care provision - good enough parenting – via child/carer interactions Assess attachment styles & their impact – understanding the signs of secure attachment & the symptoms of insecure attachments - Recognise that the immediate social caring environment promotes internal mental models in the psychodynamic dynamic sense – Plan to prevent chain of adversity reactions for children who have experienced prolonged & damaging separations…...leading to permanency planning
18 Potential Weaknesses of Psycho-Dynamic Theory Very difficult to test empirically – a form of historicism (Popper)– potential criticisms can be easily dismissed by the cognoscenti Possibly very elitist – only a very few people can really understand it fully It is very top down and reinforces professional power It is historically bound eg: Freuds understanding of the development of female identity and sexuality, and his failure to recognise sexual abuse as anything other than fantasy It reinforces sexist, homophobic, racial and cultural oppression It seems irrelevant. As CaseCon coined the phrase – how do you feel about the rats?……social work is largely much concerned with structural problems like poverty, not feelings. Tends to possibly under-estimate the role of material factors Very time consuming and easy to apply clumsily
19 Potential Strengths of Psycho-Dynamic Theory Opens up areas of study that are clearly important to human behaviour Has had a huge impact on the way that we think about human behaviour & culture e.g. childhood; sexualities; the unconscious; instincts; drives ; the creativity of everyday life Allows us to communicate about our feelings & understand why dialogue with others can become distorted – Habermas calls it an emancipatory science Tries to link instinctual, biological, psychological and sociological factors in a most intriguing and vital manner. Its an example of Modernity, an integrated universal model
20 Potential Strengths of Psycho-Dynamic Practice in Social Work Opens up internal spaces in ways that can both add potential to human experience, and in other senses make it more difficult….impossible to ignore Very important resource for SWs dealing with child safeguarding, statutory interventions, child welfare, complex family interactions & difficult life transitions, bereavement, loss, confused older people, drug addictions, So, of clear importance as a practice guide in child care matters, and some mental health situations Useful where strong defence mechanisms have developed – some parents of children with learning or physical disabilities Key insights can be utilised in more focussed ways – crisis intervention; task centred work