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Chapter 2

PSYC 4060 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Quackery, Donald Winnicott, Aaron T. Beck

Course Code
PSYC 4060
Diane Lawless

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Counselling Psychology Chapter Two: Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies Textbook Notes
Psychoanalysis is a distinctive form of psychological treatment and a model of psychological
functioning, human development, and psychopathology
Sigmund Freud was a Viennese neurologist who became known as the founding father of
It is possible to speak in general terms about certain basic principles that tend to cut across different
psychoanalytic perspectives:
o 1. An assumption that all human beings are motivated in part by wishes, fantasies, or tacit
(implied without being stated; implicit) knowledge that is outside of awareness (this is referred to
as unconscious motivation)
o 2. An interest in facilitating awareness of unconscious motivations, thereby increasing choice
o 3. An emphasis on exploring the ways in which we avoid painful or threatening feelings,
fantasies, and thoughts
o 4. An assumption that we are ambivalent about changing and an emphasis on the importance of
exploring this ambivalence
o 5. An emphasis on using the therapeutic relationship as an arena for exploring clients’ self-
defeating psychological processes and actions (both conscious and unconscious)
o 6. An emphasis on using the therapeutic relationship as an important vehicle of change
o 7. An emphasis on helping clients to understand the way in which their own construction of their
past and present plays a role in perpetuating their self-defeating patterns
Basic Concepts
The Unconscious
One of Freud’s most important insights was that “we are not masters of our own houses”
Freud understood the unconscious as an area of psychic functioning in which impulses and wishes, as
well as certain memories, are split off from awareness
o This occurs either because the associated affects are too threatening or because the content of the
impulses and wishes themselves are learned by the individual to be unacceptable through cultural
Many contemporary psychoanalysts no longer conceptualize the unconscious in precisely the same way
that Freud did
o Some still contend that there is an id, ego, and superego. Others argue that it is problematic to
speculate about the nature of hypothetical psych agencies
Our experience and actions are influenced by psychological processes that are not part of our conscious
awareness and these unconscious processes are kept out of awareness in order to avoid psychological
Psychoanalytic theory holds that people’s fantasies play an important role in their psychic functioning
and the way in which they relate to external experience, especially their relationships with other people
These fantasies can be a part of conscious awareness or deeply unconscious fantasies that trigger
psychological defense
In Freud’s early thinking, these fantasies were linked to instinctually derived wishes involving sexuality
or aggression, and they served the function of an imaginary wish fulfillment
Over time, Freud and other analysts developed a more elaborate view of the nature of fantasy and
thought that it served a number of psychic functions, including the need for the regulation of self-
esteem, the need for a feeling of safety, the need for regulating affect, and the need to master trauma
Exploring and interpreting client’s fantasies is an important part of the psychoanalytic process because
they are view as motivating our behaviour and shaping our experiences
Primary and Secondary Processes

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Counselling Psychology Chapter Two: Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies Textbook Notes
Primary process is a raw or primitive form of psychic functioning that begins at birth and continues to
operate unconsciously throughout the lifetime
o In primary process, there is no distinction between past, present, and future. Feelings,
experiences, and people are merged together
o Infants are considered to operate in this mode as part of normal development
o It operates throughout childhood and adulthood in dreams and fantasy, as well as more
consistently in individuals suffering from acute psychosis
Secondary process is the style of psychic functioning associated with consciousness. It is logical,
sequential and orderly, and the foundation for rational reflective thinking
A defense is viewed as an intrapsychic process that functions to avoid emotional pain by pushing
thoughts, wishes, feelings, or fantasies out of awareness
Example of defenses: intellectualization (an individual talks about something threatening while keeping
an emotional distance from the feelings associated with it), projection (a person attributes a threatening
feeling or motive they are experiencing to another person), and reaction formation (someone denies a
threatening feelings and proclaims they feel the opposite)
Another defense that is important to Kleinian theory is called splitting: when an individual attempts to
avoid their perception of the other as good from being contaminated by negative feelings, they may split
the representation of the other into two different images
o This defense is commonly used by infants, so they are able to feel safe with their mothers
o Two separate representations of the mother are established: a good mom and a bad mom
o Klein says, the ability to integrate the good and bad representations is a developmental
o Clients who have more several psychological disturbances never achieve this ability and are
more likely to use splitting. This will make it hard for the client to maintain relationships
Transference is a fundamental concept that played an important role in Freud’s evolution of thought
He began to observe that it was not uncommon for his clients to view him and relate to him in ways that
were reminiscent of the way they viewed to significant figures in their childhoods especially their
He thus began to speculate that they were “transferring” a template from the past onto the present
He speculated that transference was a form of resistance to remembering traumatic experiences, and he
thought clients would act out previous relationships in a therapeutic setting
Over time, Freud saw that the development of transference is an indispensable part of the psychoanalytic
One- Versus Two-Person Psychologies
An important development is the shift from a one-person psychology to a two-person psychology
Many psychoanalysts have replaced Freud’s view of the therapist as a natural observer with a blank
screen onto whom the client projects his transference with
This conceptual shift has important implications for the evolution of many concepts (e.g., resistance,
transference, countertransference) as well as for psychoanalytic technique because it implies that the
therapist cannot develop an accurate understanding of the client without developing some awareness of
his own ongoing contribution to the interaction
Although the therapists goal still remains one of ultimately understanding and helping the client, this
cannot be accomplished without an ongoing process of self-exploration on the therapists’ part
o This is especially the case with more difficult and disturbed clients
Working through a client’s resistance in modern psychoanalysis thus often involves an exploration of
the therapist’s contribution to it

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Counselling Psychology Chapter Two: Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies Textbook Notes
Other Systems
Psychoanalysis is the first modern Western system of psychotherapy, and most other forms of therapy
were influenced by it
Two founding fathers of cognitive therapy, Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis, were originally trained as
psychoanalysts, and many cognitive behavioural ideas can be found in psychoanalysis
One difficulty in comparing psychoanalysis to other systems of psychotherapy is that psychoanalysis is
not just form of therapy it is a worldview
There are many reasons for the declining fortune of psychoanalysis
o One factor has been the tendency for psychiatry to become increasingly biological
o Another is the rise of the cognitive-behavioural tradition and growing emphasis on evidence-
based treatment
o Another factor has been a negative public reaction to an attitude of arrogance, insularity, and
elitism that came to be associated with the psychoanalytic tradition
Psychoanalysis was a challenge to traditional societal and political norms
These problematic features of psychoanalysis have diminished as a result of internal reforms and
modifications to the tradition
o A partial distorted understanding of what older traditions of psychoanalysis were trying to do has
contributed to this lack of awareness by the broader mental-health profession
The current marginalization of psychoanalysis is attributable not only to valid criticism but also the
unhealthy contemporary cultural biases, especially in the US
o These biases include an emphasis on speed, pragmatism, instrumentality, and an intolerance of
o American culture tends to gloss over the more traffic dimensions of life, adopt the belief that we
can all be happy if we try hard enough, and be biased toward a “quick fix mentality”
Because of these cultural differences, American psychoanalysis is more optimistic than its European
counterpart, but it still retains many of the traditional psychoanalytic values such as the appreciation of
human complexity, a recognition that contentment or the “good life” are not necessarily the same as
two-dimensional version of “happiness,” and an appreciation that change is not always easy or fast
One formative influence on Freud’s early thinking was his exposure to developments in French
neurology and psychiatry that explored the role that the splitting of consciousness played in
o In particular, Jean-Martin Charcot, who established an international reputation through his use of
hypnosis with hysterics
o Hysterics were clients who presented with a variety of dramatic physical problems such as
paralysis of the limbs, blindness, and convulsions that could not be accounted for on an organic
o Charcot’s theory was that hysterical symptoms emerged as a result of a type of splitting off of
aspects of consciousness as a result of an organic weakness; hypnosis could both induce and
intensify hysterical symptoms as well as lead to their improvement
Freud collaborated with Josef Breuer, who was a practicing physician working with a wide range of
problems, including syndromes without an obvious organic basis
o Breuer told Freud about this girl with hysterical problems
o He treated her using an innovative technique that involved experimenting with different
therapeutic approaches and modifying what he was doing in response to her feedback
o Over time, he found that the woman would experience relief from her symptoms after talking
freely about painful and traumatic experiences
o The woman referred to Breuer ‘s approach as “the talking cure”
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