RE: SOCW6060 Response to 2 students (WK3)

Respond to at least two colleagues:

  • Compare your response with your colleague’s. Identify any insights you gained from your peer’s response.
  • Discuss whether or how to address values related to the development and use of a specific theory when working with clients.

Response to Ericka

An Analysis of Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory

Sigmund Freud was a revolutionary in the early 20th century who published his psychoanalytic theories (Turner, 2017). A primary assumption of Freud’s theoretical framework is the emphasis on a multi-stage development process which individuals must progress through to achieve success as adults (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2017). Another main component of his framework is the idea that the mind is composed of two parts from which psychological experiences and behavioral urges originate: 1) the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious and 2) id, ego, and super ego (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016). Freud proposed that some individuals (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016)-especially women (Auld, Hyman, & Rudzinski, 2005)-experience disruptions in their development which impair their ability to function properly causing psychological and interpersonal complications (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016).

Is Freud’s Theoretical Framework Applicable to Women?

Freud’s theoretical framework was widely accepted for many years. However, current views contradict his theories. Specifically, modern theories caution professionals against applying Freud’s concepts to women. A significant rationale for this is the sexist overtones within Freud’s theories. For example, Freud proposed that women have a deficit of superego (Auld et al., 2005) which would result in a prevalence of immoral behavior according to Freud (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016). Blum (1977) accuses Freud of perpetuating sexist beliefs which impair evidence-based practice (as cited by Auld et al., 2005). As a woman and a professional, I agree with the critics regarding Freud’s sexist implications. Based on his assumptions, all women would be morally ill-equipped to be a social worker or mental healthcare professional. His theory also places blame on the client. For example, according to Freud’s theoretical framework, a female client who wants to leave her husband must be envious of his penis or otherwise too morally deficient to understand the sacredness of marriage vows. This is an unfair and potentially harmful assumption negating the use of a systems perspective or the consideration of some form of abuse within the relationship. In addition, I believe that socialization plays a larger role in moral development and gender roles than biology. Mead (1974) argues that patriarchal ideals are forced on women from infancy (as cited by Auld et al., 2005). I experienced this as a little girl. For example, adults informed me that girls were supposed to be lady-like (poised and pleasant), grow up and fulfill the intended purpose of being wives and mommies one day, and that a woman was the source of the original sin and human suffering. Therefore, I believe moral deficiency and stunted development are consequences of a dysfunctional societal system and not an inherent flaw of the female sex. However, I agree with Freud that the existence of developmental issues create psychological and social distress.

Is Freud’s Theoretical Framework Applicable to Racial and Ethnic Minorities?

Another criticism I have of Freud’s work is that it generalizes groups of people and oversimplifies the human experience. Auld et al. (2005) explain that stereotyping human beings can be harmful. This does not allow for the acknowledgement of individual differences or cultural influences regarding gender role and life stage development. Freud studied a primarily homogenous population of middle-aged Viennese women and minimized the differences between groups (McCleod, 2018). The conclusions resulting from this limited information ignore the influences of culturally-based gender roles, cultural values, culturally-based expression of emotions, and the influences of cultural trauma. A primary goal of social work is to empathize with the client and strive to understand their experiences from their perspective. This is especially important when working with diverse and marginalized groups. I believe a sole reliance on the rigid and biased principles of Freud’s theories could potentially limit my ability to practice cultural competence and celebrate diversity in my role as a social worker.

Is Freud’s Theoretical Framework Consistent with Social Work Values and Ethics?

Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory falls short of reflecting the concepts within the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics (2017). Stereotypes derived from Freud’s work such as the moral deficiencies of women compared to men could negatively impact the social worker’s view of their client. These stereotypes create bias and unfair assumptions regarding the client. The NASW Code of Ethics (2014) explains that social workers must challenge discrimination and prejudice in all capacities (4.02). Freud’s ideas do not foster competency in working with diverse clients because his data and conclusions were not obtained from a diverse client population. The NASW Code of Ethics (2017) mandates that social workers maintain a broad knowledge-base of other cultures and the diversity within society (1.05(c)) and apply their knowledge of diversity to their interpretation of human behavior (1.05(a)). Freud’s implied role as an infinitely more capable male figure of authority compared to his female clients contradicts social work ethics. Auld et al. (2005) assert that this prejudice impairs the professional’s effectiveness in the relationship. The NASW Code of Ethics (2017) emphasizes the importance of equality within the professional relationship. Finally, social workers should promote social justice (NASW, 2107). Social justice affirms the value of equality on all levels of society (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016). Freud’s notions about moral deficiencies and penial inferiority do not allow for egalitarianism. A social worker should not exclusively apply Freud’s concepts to their practice.

Conclusion

Sigmund Freud helped set the stage for critical thinking and exploration of the human psyche. Unfortunately, his ideas were highly influenced by prejudice common to his time. A social worker should support equality and autonomy in their clients. The implications of weaker sexes and moral deficiencies provided by Psychoanalytic Theory impair the social worker’s ability to fulfill their supportive role as a counselor, educator, enabler, and advocate. Human beings may certainly display problems related to development that may partially support Freud’s claims, but other theoretical perspectives must be considered to provide a comprehensive understanding of the client experience. A competent social worker has knowledge of the history of theory and its significance as well as the ability to judiciously determine which aspects of theory are applicable and which components require revision.

References

Auld, F., Hyman, M., & Rudzinski, D. (2005). How is therapy with women different? In

Resolution and inner conflict: An introduction to psychoanalytic therapy (217-236).

Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Blum (1977). In Auld, F., Hyman, M., & Rudzinski, D. (2005). How is therapy with women different? In Resolution and inner conflict: An introduction to psychoanalytic therapy (217-236). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Mead (1974). In different? In Resolution and inner conflict: An introduction to psychoanalytic therapy (217-236). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

McCleod, S. (2018). Sigmund Freud. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/Sigmund-Freud.html

National Association of Social Workers (2017). Read the Code of Ethics. Retrieved from

https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English

Turner, F. J. (Ed.). (2017). Social work treatment interlocking theoretical approaches (6th e.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Zastrow, C. H. & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2017). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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Response to Alecia

Summarize the assumptions of Freud’s psychoanalytical theory in 2 to 3 sentences.

The basic assumption of Freud’s psychoanalytic view of the person is an energy system in which all mental processes are energy flows, which can flow freely or can get sidetracked or dammed up. Freud argues that the goal of all behavior is the reduction of tension through the release of energy, which produces pleasure. It also argues that human behavior is the result of the interactions among three component parts of the mind and that is the id, the ego, and the superego.

Explain whether you believe it is appropriate to apply psychoanalytic theory to women

I do think that it is appropriate to apply psychoanalytic theory to woman. My reason is because psychoanalysis remains a vital and effective method of therapy theory (Auld, Hyman & Rudzinski, 2005). Because of this it is still acceptable to discuss issues surrounding woman and psychoanalytic therapy.

And

individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups.

I think that it can be used if therapist use the recommended advice from Grier and Cobbs (1968) about applying their work working with ethnic groups and adapting that advice as needed considering the wrongs they may have endured (Auld, Hyman & Rudzinski, 2005). However, there should be a more organized incorporation of cultural competence for advances in the psychoanalytic theory. This would allow for a more cultured understanding of and application of cultural competence when working with individuals and ethnic groups. Keeping in mind that Psychoanalysis bring tension to light and no explanation excuses misbehavior and does not relieve the organization of its responsibility to handle conflict democratically, especially when working with ethnic groups (Turner, 2017, p.408).

Explain whether you believe psychoanalytic theory is consistent with social work values and social work ethics.

The psychoanalytic theory can be helpful in addressing many forms of social oppression experienced by individuals and their families. This theory is consistent with the social work values and work ethics because social work is about promoting the general welfare of society by representing those who are most vulnerable such as ethnic minority groups (NASW, 2008). The Social Work Code of Ethics provide a framework for the principles and standards that must be upheld.

References

Auld, F., Hyman, M., & Rudzinski, D. (2005). How is therapy with women different? In Resolution and inner conflict: An introduction to psychoanalytic therapy (pp. 217–236). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English

Turner, F. J. (Ed.). (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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