Ego Psychology Question 1 Application. Ego psychology builds upon psychoanalytical theory. This theory discusses how an individual can develop based on their ego, how they function, and the type of defense mechanisms a person utilizes. In the case of April, Ego psychology will be utilized to dive into her strengths and limitations using Erik Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial crises, which are tied to Freud’s psychoanalysis. April, a 5 year old, has had some serious changes since her father committed suicide.
She withdraws from activities that she liked to do, is not eating much, and has shown signs of regression to a state when she was a toddler. She began to have nightmares and explains that she feels alone and feels that something is coming after her in her dreams. Her mother reported that April sometimes ignores her, but other times cries like a baby when she tries to leave. Her mother also feels that April rejects her because of the death of April’s father. A hypothesis can be made that April has an maginary friends or is pretending that someone is around, because of her actions during an observed play time.
Other changes include outside factors such as moving into a small apartment, sharing a room with her sister, having her grandmother move in, and having less interaction with her mother who now has to work full time. Ego psychology ties together cognition and emotion when interacting with others (Goldstein, 2008). Elizabeth Hutchinson discusses ego as natural, it “is the source of our attention, concentration, learning, memory, will, and perception” (2013, 123). When reviewing April’s past, she appears to be developing as she should according to the psychosocial stages.
However, after the suicide of her father, the factors that are driven by the ego have stopped operating as her social and psychological needs are not met as before. At a time when the family structure was more stable and her father was involved. She’s begun developing negative patterns with coping or when faced with conflict. As discussed in lecture, the “Ego is the primary motivator of behavior” (Vergara, 2013). If the social and psychological needs of a person are not properly met, they usually develop inconsistently.
For example, Hutchison notes, “if we experience sadness, then, it is possible that we are having conflicts related to drive frustration” (2013, 123). It appears that April is suffering from phenomenon, which will be discussed in question 2. April’s irrational or abnormal behavior, compared to her past, is a defense mechanism. According to Susan Robbins, “when the ego experiences internal danger, it defends itself with a variety of defense echanisms that are ultimately aimed at repression” (2012, 175).
Ego psychology aims to explain how April’s current ego development may need a reevaluation of goodness of fit because she is no longer meeting the appropriate stages. As Goldstein interprets “crisis’, she states, “the stage itself arises when the capacities of the individual are no longer to cope with the new internal and external demands that arise from the biopsychosocial field in the course of normal development (1995, 5). ” Critique.
According to Hutchinson, “Ego Psychology gives primary attention to the ational part of the mind and the human capacity for adaptation” (2013, 56). In April’s withdrawn behavior might be viewed as if her needs are not being met. She is exhibiting short term memory or complete denial when asking when her father would be home, which could be a defense mechanism. Also, she may have created an imaginary friend. April has shown regression, when she reverted to calling her sister “GlowY’, a name she used to call her when she was only 2 years old and when she cried like a baby.
All of these ideas can be based on the fact that April is not adapting ell to new environments, because she is not displaying the twelve ego functions. Strengths. Stages lay a foundation in which professionals can use as a means to gauge where an individual is developmentally. Be it Freud’s five sequential phases (Robbins, Chatterjee, & Canda), or Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development, by using chronological milestone data collected from April’s case, a social worker can compare her reactions to the spectrum of stages for a guide to positive of negative development.
Ego psychology can explore how an individual adapts to their social nvironment through different functions such as coping and cognitive or unrealized defenses and can help explain why April has become withdrawn from favored activities and play. April may be suffering from Neurosis, a defense mechanism that can play a part in falsifying the ability to control anxiety (Vergara, 2013). Limitations. The theory assumes that Ego development is a naturally positive occurring mechanism. If an individual is not developing as they “should”, blame is placed on ego deficits and/or goodness of fit.
Ego defense mechanisms are beneficial in understanding deficits, but if one is born with Ego, which is naturally a rational thinking, adapting, and lifelong mechanism, how does an individual display maladaptive defenses? There appears to be a gap between natural adaptation and development, if born with a natural drive to succeed, and a moment in life wher individuals can polarize their development. Also, Ego can have a different interpretation in many theories, even theories in which ego psychology has been based of off (Robbins, Chatterjee, & Canda, 2012).