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Outline and Evaluate one or More Psychological Explanations for Schizophrenia

Autor:   •  February 9, 2014  •  Essay  •  1,005 Words (5 Pages)  •  3,365 Views

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A psychological explanation of schizophrenia is the psychodynamic approach. The basic assumption of the psychodynamic model is that our adult characteristics are rooted in our childhood experiences and are a result of problems between the developing personalities. Also, that unconscious repressed instinctual drives and negative child experiences are mainly responsible for an individual’s problems.

Freud believed that if the world of a schizophrenic has been particular harsh in the childhood environment, the individuals may regress to an earlier stage in development before the ego was properly developed and before he or she had developed realistic awareness of the external world and so Schizophrenics have a loss of contact with reality because their ego is no longer functioning properly. The psychodynamic approach explains some symptoms such as auditory hallucinations as the schizophrenics attempt to establish the ego.

It also raises ethical issues in that it blames parents for causing schizophrenia which could be distressing, guilt inducing and stigmatising. Waring and Ricks contradict the account of the mothers of schizophrenics as harsh and withholding. Instead they found they tended to be anxious, shy, withdrawn, and incoherent. It can also be argued that there is no difference between parents of schizophrenics and those of non-schizophrenics and that any differences in family interactions are an effect of having a relative with schizophrenia rather than a cause.

Another major criticism of the psychodynamic explanation of Sz is that there is no evidence to support this view and it fails to explain the complexity of the disorder. There is little empirical research evidence to suggest that Schizophrenics regress back to an earlier life stage, as most schizophrenics do not resemble very young children and their behaviour for example children like to explore and are very motivated whereas schizophrenics are not.

The approach is also unscientific as it is difficult to falsify. For example, a person may admit to negative feelings or may deny such feelings-but such denial could be taken to indicate that they are simply regressing such feelings and so whatever the person says could be taken to indicate negative feelings. The psychodynamic theory also does not account for why Sz develops so suddenly in late teens and early twenties, and therefore emphasised the importance of biological factors.

Another psychological explanation for Schizophrenia is the cognitive model. Sz according to the cognitive model suggests that faulty thought processes are linked to many schizophrenic symptoms, such as hallucinations and disordered thinking, which suggest a cognitive input. This explanation acknowledges the role of biological factors in causing the initial sensory experiences of Sz but also claims that further features of the disorder appear as individuals attempt to understand those


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