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Critiques of Freud's Psychoanalytic Psychology

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What are the pros and cons of Freud's psychoanalytic theories?

Critiques of Freud's Psychoanalytic Psychology

There have been decades of debate about Freud's ideas since his time, from positive credit to scathing criticism. Some have said that his concepts and theories cannot be scientifically proven and so, discredit them. To those not particularly wedded to empiricism, though, this hasn't been a critical issue. His developmental theory has been criticized for it's emphases on bodily functions and instinctual drives. Freud was clearly a product of his time, though, and since then, it has been recognized by most critics that he overemphasized the importance of certain sexual and other instinctual drives as a result of the Puritanism of the time in which he lived. The degree to which he overemphasized these factors is still debated. Along with this, he has been criticized as too mechanistic in his insistence on the power of instinctual drives, thus not allowing for the individual's capacity for free choice.

Freud clearly has many admirers for his identification of specific defense mechanisms; so much so that these are considered in most, if not all, beginning psychology texts. He is also respected in the field for providing the roots of later theories and therapies, whether reactive -- as in the cases of Carl Jung's and Erik Erikson's works - - or more closely allied to Freud's own theories. There isn't any denying that he provided the most influential set of theories, concepts and therapies of modern psychoanalytic psychology.



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