June 23, 2011
June 23, 2011
I am a Psychology/HDEV double major, so needless to say I have learned of Freud’s theories in many of my classes and was looking forward to reading this book. When his five stages of psychosexual development first came out, Freud received a lot of criticism due to the fact that many people found it hard to believe that the way we developed could be related to anything sexual. As expected, I found a lot of what he said to be very intriguing yet I also found myself disagreeing with the way he related many things back to infantile sex, especially in the first case. However, by reading the case histories I was able to make some connections to the way we as humans interpret the world and how we ourselves fit into what we contribute to the world.
In the beginning Freud says that it is easier to learn more about a patient through his/her secrets than small facts about him/her. I agree with this statement, in that we really can learn more about a person by delving into their intimate thoughts. Freud views the mind using an iceberg analogy. Our conscious thoughts are just the tip of the iceberg and our unconscious thoughts are the rest of the iceberg; underneath the “tip”, our unconscious reveals so much more about who we are and why we make the decisions we make. For example, on page 13 Freud says his patient breaks into a story, and creates a “defensive measure, which he was obliged to adopt in order to prevent the fantasy from being fulfilled.” I agree with Freud’s theories on defense mechanisms, which are brought upon by the unconscious in order to deal with our realities. Defense mechanisms are probably used more often than we realize. For example, even something as small as taking your anger out on somebody who does not deserve it is an example of a defense mechanism, particularly displacement. The way we interpret it, however, is by justifying that we are right and we do not believe we are using any defense mechanisms. I now realize I experienced this just the other day. It was late at night and I wanted Five Guys, so I went over there yet they were closed. I used a defense mechanism by saying, “Well, I didn’t really want a burger anyway and I have food at home” (this one is rationalization). Defense mechanisms can oftentimes have the potential to be legitimate excuses, yet they are usually just created by our unconscious to make us feel better. This relates to “idea versus wish or fear”: what you think is an idea you suppress/don’t realize it’s a wish or fear (another possible defense mechanism), and his patient is seen making this mistake.
On page 91-92 Dr. Weber is quoted with what I thought to be very interesting in relation to this particular assignment prompt: “The culminating point of the patient’s delusional system is his belief that he has a mission to redeem the world, and to restore mankind to their lost state of bliss. He was called to this task, so he asserts, by direct inspiration from God…”. We were asked to view how we interpret ourselves in relation to what we do in this world, and personally, I would have to say this is how I view myself: Although I am not very religious and do not feel “directly inspired from God”, I make my decisions and I have my beliefs based on internal motivation. I, like this patient, feel that I do have a mission to complete in the world, and I do set goals for myself to help mankind in some way, even if it’s by small actions such as volunteering at a hospital or raising money through charities. Although we are not all “delusional” and we were never Freud’s patients, I think we can still find ourselves having some things in common with the patients in this book. We may all interpret the world around us differently, but deep down I think we as humans all use defense mechanisms daily and we all feel we have set our own “missions” for ourselves.