Psychology lacks a theoretical foundation

To be science, there must be a theoretical foundation. What does psychology lack? A theoretical foundation. In fact, the only true theoretical foundation of psychology is widely derided by psychologists and psychiatrists alike, yet much of the world can only name one person in the field – and that person is Dr. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis.

Mark Solms, Ph.D., is the Chair of Neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town and founder of the journal Neuropsychoanalysis, and at the upcoming National Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association on January 20th he will review three central psychoanalytic concepts about the human mind, all of them ideas first developed by Freud, and discuss how contemporary psychoanalysts use these principles to treat mental health issues today. There are many people now working in the psychology field, with many students opting to take a psychology degree in order to become a counsellor (perhaps at Chatham – As mental health issues become more openly discussed, many people want to educate themselves on the matters of the mind in order to help patients.

The core concepts are that :

(1) infants are not blank slates and are born with innate needs, which Freud called the “id”;

(2) as we develop, our main task is to learn how to meet these needs in the world, through what Freud called “ego” development; and

(3) most of the ways we use to meet our needs are unconscious.

These concepts, which were once controversial, are now widely accepted by neighboring disciplines, Solms says. Contemporary psychoanalysts’ work flows from these concepts, namely from the understanding that psychological patients suffer mainly from feelings and that their emotions have meanings, specifically they represent unsatisfied needs. The main goal of treatment then is to help patients learn more effective ways of meeting their needs, leading to better emotion regulation. This is done, in part, by unraveling the unconscious solutions that give rise to their unwanted feelings.

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