Psychoanalytic Perspective Versus Socio-Cultural Perspective

Psychology Essay:
Psychoanalytic Perspective versus Socio-Cultural Perspective
by Romy Conradie
Student Number: 843795
11 March 2014

The different perspectives in psychology all aim to answer the fundamental question of what causes a person to behave the way they do. There are a wide variety of perspectives in psychology such as behavioural, biological, psychoanalytical, humanistic and socio-cultural. Each perspective searches for explanations about behaviours through different techniques and theories by looking at a person’s childhood or adult life experiences. Looking at behaviours through different lenses brings more dimensions into situations in terms of integration of assumptions that are commonly made when developing a behavioural therapy. This essay focuses on the psychoanalytical and social-cultural perspectives. A brief introduction on the theory, followed by a comparison and contrast of Tumi’s case study between the two approaches will be discussed in the following section.

Sigmund Freud is viewed as the founding father of the psychoanalytic perspective, which explores unconscious conflicts and emotional problems. (Coon, 2012). The psychoanalytic perspective focuses on the unconscious, and childhood experiences controlled by inner forces in the characterization of human nature (Weiten, 2012). The major causal factors of behaviour can be defined as understanding behaviour in terms of unconscious motives stemming from sexual and aggressive impulses (Santrock, 2003). Freud’s observation of patients in clinical settings rather than experimental research was the predominant focus and method of discovery (Weiten, 2012). The major strengths of the psychoanalytical perspective are the focus on unconscious forces, childhood and personality. The major limitation of the psychoanalytical perspective is the fact that it is viewed as deterministic and negative/pessimistic. It was also viewed as controversial due to heavy emphasis on childhood sexuality. Focus...