Psychodynamic Theory: “Fathers Influence on Children’s Development” Jeff Santiago California State University, Fresno Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multi-Systems Approach Social Work 212 Dr. Kris Clarke October 15, 2012 Psychodynamic Theory: “Fathers Influence on Children’s Development” Psychodynamic Theory Understanding the significance of the father’s role and their influences on children’s development has been at the forefront of empirical research over the last ten years.
Numerous studies have enriched empirical literature regarding the father’s influence on children’s development. Theorists have reestablished the conceptual framework in outlining the significance to elicit father’s influence on children’s development (Zacker, 1978). In this paper I will examine the Psychodynamic theory and show the relevance, and applicability to Father’s role in child development. (Kriston, Holzel, & Harter, 2009) indicated that long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (LTPP) is more effective than shorter forms of psychotherapy.
Therefore, conceptualizing the framework of the psychodynamic theory and the impact it has on the father’s role on child development is critical in understanding its relevance. The review of theory is followed by discussion and the direct correlation to father’s role on child development. Historically, there has been limited empirical research on psychodynamic theory. Psychodynamic outcome research is underrepresented in the empirical literature and much of psychodynamic research is process-oriented rather than outcome-oriented (Brandell, 2005).
The psychodynamic theory can be challenging to conceptualize, due to its dual implications. (Brandell, 2005) states that psychodynamic models are complex to evaluate, in part because they are concerned with meaning as well as behavior change, and consequently psychodynamic practice has become less well understood and less often practiced. However, understanding psychodynamic theory and how the inner energies are what motivate, dominate, and control people’s behavior, re based in past experience and present reality. According to (Berzoff, Flanagan, & Hertz, 2002) clinical knowledge grounded in psychodynamic theory is one of the most powerful ways we have in looking inside someone’s heart and mind, and without it, we are almost blind, limited to the surface. Understanding the internal psychological factors, and how they are interwoven with external factors such as culture, gender, race, class, and biology help us understand the intricate complexities of an individual.
From this perspective, we study how the outside develops a person psychologically, and in turn, how the inner world shapes a person’s outer reality. Internal life is intellectualized within biological and social contexts. What is inside and outside an individual comes to be metabolized as psychological strengths and disturbances (Berzoff et al. , 2002). Through the lenses of psychodynamic theory, it accounts for the forces of love or hate, sexuality, and aggression, which express themselves differently in each individual, and ultimately shape how each individual functions and develops.
According to (Berzoff et al. , 2002) Freud viewed humans as inhuman in their nature, fueled by forces, fantasies, longings, and passions beyond their control. Many psychological issues develop when forces in the mind oppose drives. Mental activity derives from the id, the ego, and superego, each having unique functions. Although despite having these unique functions, they frequently conflict with one another (Berzoff et al. , 2002). So, psychodynamic theory involves interactions between different parts of the mind, between childhood, and adult events.
Moreover, psychodynamic theory examines deep underlying issues involving the unconscious elements in interactions between individuals, where emotion is a primary focus. According to (Jarvis, 2004) psychodynamic theory emphasizes particular childhood events, ranging from sexual abuse to successful formation of an infant-primary care attachment. The significance of early relationships of our social-emotional development is profoundly affected by the quality of relationships we experience.
Psychodynamic and Father’s Role on Child Development The psychodynamic theory reinforces the direct correlation to the father’s role on child development. In Freudian theory, the father is seen with particular importance related to child development (Jarvis, 2004). The psychodynamic approach assumes we are influenced in some way by mental processes by which we are not normally aware. Furthermore, there exists continuity between childhood and adult experience. According to (Jarvis, 2004, p. ) many characteristics of the adult personality, both normal and abnormal, can be traced to childhood experience. Consequently, the historical framework of the psychodynamic theory clearly identifies the importance of early relationships, especially father’s role on child development. There is an importance of early relationships, and the psychological significance of subjective experience and unconscious mental processes (Jarvis, 2004). The psychodynamic theory reiterates that children benefit from male contributions to children’s early experiences.
The relevance from the psychodynamic theory, significantly impacts the direct correlation of father’s role in child development. Father’s have significant influences on adjustment, and become increasingly important as offspring move into adulthood. (Jarvis, 2004) states several contributors illustrate historical, cultural, and family ideologies inform the roles fathers play, and undoubtedly shape the absolute amounts of time fathers spend with their children, the activities they share with them, and perhaps even the quality of relationships between fathers and children.
The framework of the psychodynamic theory reinforces that fathers frequently play a number of roles that include: companions, care providers, spouses, protectors, models, moral guides, teachers, and breadwinners. According to (Brandell, 2005) children with highly involved fathers were characterized by increased cognitive competence, increased empathy, fewer sex-stereotyped beliefs, and a more internal locus of control. One can speculate the benefits obtained by children with highly involved fathers.
Furthermore, the empirical literature review reinforces the impact of father’s role upon child development from the psychodynamic theory. Sensitive fathering that includes: responding, talking, supporting, teaching, and encouraging their children to learn, predicts children’s socio-emotional, cognitive, and linguistic achievements (Jarvis, 2004). By outlining how the id, ego, and superego have independent functions, yet in spite of the functions, have repeated conflict with one another impacted by the father’s influence upon child development.
As mentioned earlier, the psychodynamic theory reinforces profound significance of early childhood relationships. References Ashford, J. B. , & LeCroy, C. W. (2010). Human Behavior in the Social Environment A Multidimensional Perspective (4th ed. ). Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning: Author. Berzoff, J. , Flanagan, L. M. , & Hertz, P. (2002). Inside Out and Outside In. Retrieved from GOOGLE ebookstore Brandell, J. R. (2005). Psychodynamic Social Work. Columbia University Press: Columbia University. Grainger, S. (2004).
Family Background and Female Sexual Behavior. Human Nature, 15(2), 133-145. Jarvis, M. (2004). Psychodynamic Psychology: Classic Theory and Contemporary Research. Retrieved from GOOGLE ebookstore Kriston, L. , Holzel, L. , & Harter, M. (2009, March 4). Analyzing Effectiveness of Long-term Psychodynamic Psyotherapy. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 301(9), 930-933. http://dx. doi. org/10. 100/jama. 2009. 178 Zacker, J. (1978). Parents as Change Agents: A Psychodynamic Model. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 32:4, 572-582. Retrieved from
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