Development of psychoanalytic theory and its application was largely based on practical experience of Freud with his patients. As a result, the derivatives of latter theorists such as Lacan largely guided their application in therapies from Freud (Clara et al, 2008). For instance, the Lacan three orders appear to directly replicate prior Freud’s work. Clara et al (2008) continues to say that Lacan view saw Freudian ‘ego’ and its relation with the depicted ‘image’ as a key source of alienation.
Therefore, Lacan pointed psychoanalytic theory to be restrictive and maintained a unit directional (less rigid) treatment orientation which he considered less effective (Karen, 2008). As a result he proposed symbolism arguing that it presented a more expounded plane for understanding psychological disorders affecting the people. Summers and Jacques (2009) point out that Lacan consideration of symbolism expounds the ‘signifier’ where various elements lack the positive existence, but are constituted in respect to their mutual differences.
As psychoanalytic theory underscores the behavioral construct of the people especially from the unconscious considerations, Lacan symbolism incorporates culture that has key drivers which control an individual’s behavior. Adolf (2007) argues that like Freud, the immediate environment in Locan view plays a critical role in determining the ultimate behavior and indeed the ability to address related disorders. The real and desire as Busch (2009) noted in their review, are equivalents of Freudian superego which seeks to gather further understanding in search for perfection.
Lacan considers ‘real’ to lack the needed mediation and therefore a major object to anxiety. As a result, anxiety as Busch (2009) further indicate, facilitates therapists understanding of psychological disorders and deriving mechanisms for addressing them. c) Cathy Caruth. Over the years, the rising numbers of people suffering from psychological disorders has created a critical need for further extrapolation of Freud’s work which appears central in addressing them. Cathy Caruth in her trauma theory as Barbara (2008) noted set to create a reverse model of focusing to different problems that psychologically disturbed are faced with.
As a result, she concurs with Freud’s notion of the subconscious and unconscious mind in deriving the possible causes of their psychological problems. In an example highlighted by Kanofsky and Lieb (2007) and Adam (2008), Cathy postulates that in addressing post traumatic stress disorders, therapists should use survival as opposed to death. Whereas this indeed appears as a major paradox, it facilitates the survivor to get the reality of what he/she went through by reflecting on it and therefore conquering the sense of defeat presented by the superego (Lieberman, 2007). Comparison of psychoanalytic theory with other theories
The superiority of psychoanalytic theory is even more evident when compared to other theories applied in different therapies. a) Social cognitive theory This theory was developed after a long period of observation on how an individual behavior develops. Albert Bandura pointed out that though the environment is very crucial in determining the overall behavior, the resulting behavioral outsets are equally influential on the environment (Busch, 2009). In a reciprocal model, the theory indicates that it is possible to change either of the two key factors (environment or behavior) by adjusting one of them.
Henry (2009) and Hayes (2004) argue that though the theory is indeed correct, it presents a narrow approach to holistically address behavioral problems. Particularly, Laura and Pam (2007) acknowledge some factors that emanate internally from an individual and therefore not easily understood from the environmental point of view. As a result, Siegfried (2010) explains that though application of social cognitive theory is effective, it requires major support from psychoanalytic theory in understanding the behavior arising from the unconscious mind.
b) Theory of operant conditioning Development of any theory as Nelson-Jones (2005) puts it is aimed at addressing a given societal problem. Theory of operant conditioning seeks to address behavioral problems through conditioning the resulting behaviors by an individual. Therefore, the voluntary behaviors (operant behaviors) are subject to key antecedent conditions that are progressively defined through reinforcement. As a result, BF Skinner argued that by reinforcing a given particular behavior, it is possible to encourage greater frequency of its application by an individual.
On the other hand, punishing a given behavior reduces its overall application (Summers and Jacques, 2009). While this theory has gained great acceptance in different realms of behavioral changes outsets, analysts argue that it leaves out key underpinnings for greater efficacy application. To begin with, it looks at an individual from only one dimension, conditioning the behavior, but does not gather a deeper understanding of the innate drivers (Karen, 2008).
As a result, psychoanalytic theory becomes superior in that it incorporates the environment as postulated by Skinner in explaining the deeper setup of psychological problems drivers. Freud’s notion of the id as Horney (2008) and Busch (2009) concur, calls for greater understanding of the unconscious mind and therefore difficult to address through conditioning. Ofra and Hanoch (2009) differ with Marrie and Janneke-van (2007) on conditioning by indicating that it often fails to conclusively address personality and developmental problems arising from fixation at different stages.
Conversely, Adolf (2007) suggests that psychoanalytic theory brings a therapist to a clearer point of understanding the cause of a given condition and therefore addressing it for normal growth and behavior to resume. Similar to social learning theory, operant conditioning theory requires effective input from psychoanalytic theory for it to be complete. c) Theory of moral development Kohlberg ’s theory of moral development as Lieberman (2007) put it is perhaps one of the closest to Freud’s psychoanalytic theory in that it underscores the role of moral reasoning to be the basis of the ethical behavior.
In a simplistic model, Kohlberg’s three developmental stages (pre-conventional, conventional and post conventional) greatly borrow psychoanalytic theory outlook. In the pre-conventional level, the notion of self interest can be compared to the id in the Freudian work. An individual’s interests at this time are innate and therefore unconsciously controlled by the mind. In the second level, Marrie and Janneke-van (2007) point out that Kohlberg considered the environment to take a more defining role for personality through conforming to societal norms.
This level coheres with the ego stage of psychoanalytic theory when an individual senses become subject to the environment and therefore invoking reality in him/her. In the third level, post convention stage, this theory invokes an even higher level of sense making for individuals whose mental abilities are expected to be greater in foreseeing what is right or wrong. The nature of self becomes subject to further criticism by considering implications that particular actions infer to others (Clara et al, 2008).
In a similar mode, psychoanalytical theory super-ego focuses on an expanded platform for an individual that dictates their ability to associate with others. As a result, the two theories create an important understanding on mechanisms that therapists can use to steer psychologically disturbed people in reducing their problems. However, the emphasis on justice in the moral development theory has excluded key values while inadequately addressing others that fall outside its jurisdiction (Nelson-Jones, 2005; Adam, 2008).