Ego Psychology


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Social Dimensions of Human Behavior : 

1 Social Dimensions of Human Behavior Ego Psychology

Ego Psychological Theory : 

2 Ego Psychological Theory Freud proposed the psychic structures of the Id, Ego, and Superego These structures led to an appreciation and understanding of how intrapsychic processes impact human function and adjustment to the environment

Ego Psychological Theory : 

3 Ego Psychological Theory ID The Seat of Instincts SUPER EGO The conscience and ego ideal EGO Defined by its functions Mediates between the drives of the Id and external realities Moderates conflict between the Id and the Super Ego through initiating defense mechanisms

Ego Psychological Theory : 

4 Ego Psychological Theory Key distinctions in Ego Psychology The Ego has its own source of psychic energy and is differentiated from the Id (Heinz) Ego functions develop over the lifespan in response to progressive mastery of developmental skills in response to the social environment (Erikson) Ego functions are directly related to attachment and caregiver functions (Ainsworth, Bowlby, & Mahler)

Ego Psychology & Social Case Work : 

5 Ego Psychology & Social Case Work Traditional social case work was based on a psychoanalytic model up until the 1930’s Ego psychology provided less emphasis on the intrapsychic and more emphasis on environment, social, and family influences on ego function Focuses on the person-environmental transactions in the here and now and particularly the degree to which he or she is coping with major life roles and tasks Focus on the client’s ego strengths as well as deficits (neurosis) How do developmental outcomes impact ego function today? Degree to which the external environment influences successful coping

Basic Assumptions of Ego Psychology : 

6 Basic Assumptions of Ego Psychology People are born with an innate capacity to function adaptively. Individuals engage in a lifelong biopsychosocial developmental process in which the ego is an active, dynamic force for coping with, adapting to, and shaping the external environment The “ego” is considered to be a mental structure of personality that is responsible for negotiating between the internal needs of the individual and the outside world. While the ego has the capacity for functioning autonomously, it is only one part of the personality and must be understood in relation to “inter” and outer factors The ego contains the basic functions essential to the individual’s successful adaptation to the environment. Ego functions are innate and develop through maturation and the interaction among biopsychosocial factors

Basic Assumptions of Ego Psychology : 

7 Basic Assumptions of Ego Psychology Ego development occurs sequentially as a result of constitutional factors, meeting of basic needs, identification with others, interpersonal relationships, learning, mastery of developmental tasks, effective problem solving, and successful coping The ego not only mediates between the individual and the environment but also mediates internal conflict among various aspects of the personality. It can elicit defenses that protect the individual from anxiety and conflict and that serve adaptive or maladaptive purposes The social environment shapes the personality and provides the conditions that foster or obstruct successful coping. Cultural factors, racial, ethnic, and religious diversity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and presence of absence of physical challenges affect ego development

Basic Assumptions of Ego Psychology : 

8 Basic Assumptions of Ego Psychology Problems in social functioning must be viewed in relation both to possible ego deficits and the fit between needs and capabilities and environmental conditions and resources. Main Concepts of Ego Psychology Ego Functions Ego Strength Defense Mechanisms Ego Mastery and Adaptation Object Relations

Ego Functions 1-5 : 

9 Ego Functions 1-5 Ego Functions: Means by which the individual adapts to the world (12 total) Reality Testing: Accurate perceptions of inner and outer world, at an extreme: delusions and hallucinations Judgment: Identify course of actions and weigh consequences Sense of Reality About the World and Self: Perceives inner and outer world accurately, but experiences the world and self in distorted way. (Derealization or Depersonalization) Regulation and Control of Drives, Affect, and Impulses (Tolerates life challenges and emotional states without becoming overwhelmed, impulsive, symptomatic) Object Relations: Quality and patterns of interpersonal relationships

Ego Functions 6-9 : 

10 Ego Functions 6-9 Thought Process: Primary Thought Processes: Instinctual Pleasure Principle (Wish Fulfillment) Secondary Through Process: Ego centered: Reality Principle (Appropriate outlets of Wish Fulfillment) Adaptive Regression in the Service of the Ego: Capacity to relax one’s hold on reality, to experience aspects of self that are ordinarily inaccessible, and to emerge with increased adaptive capacity as a result of creative integrations Defensive Functioning Adaptive versus Maladaptive Stimulus Barrier: How much stress one can handle and maintain ego function

Ego Functions 10-12 : 

11 Ego Functions 10-12 Autonomous Functions Ego functions that are free from instinctual drives including: attention, concentration, memory, learning, perception, motor functions Can be disturbed by intrapsychic conflict Mastery-Competence Actual: The individual’s ability to successfully navigate their social environment Perceived: Subjective feelings of competence Synthetic/ Integrative Function Binds and fits all the disparate aspects of personality into a unified structure in order to achieve personality integration. Splitting, fragmenting, etc

Ego Strength : 

12 Ego Strength Internal psychological equipment or capacities that an individual brings to his or her interactions with the social environment Many times reflects the situation (I.E: Confidence)

Defense Mechanisms : 

13 Defense Mechanisms Protects the individual from anxiety Largely unconscious Normative use…but falsifies and distorts reality Helps a person function without undue anxiety Under unrelenting stress, defense mechanisms will fail (psychosis)

Common Defense Mechanisms : 

14 Common Defense Mechanisms Repression: Reaction Formation Projection Isolation of Affect: repression of feelings with particular items, feelings, events Undoing Regression Introjection Compensation Asceticism Altruism Reversal: turning a thought or feelings to opposite (reaction formation is behavioral) Sublimation Intellectualization (ignores feeling content for cognitive content) Rationalization Displacement Denial Somatization Idealization (overvaluing) Splitting

Ego Mastery & Adaptation : 

15 Ego Mastery & Adaptation The ego seeks independently to master its environment and interactions. A sense of one’s effectiveness in life has been nurtured (White) A sense of ego systonic outcomes at each developmental stage (Erikson)

Slide 16: 

16 Ego Psychological Theory

Object Relations : 

17 Object Relations Ego development through separation and individuation Takes into account the quality of interpersonal relationships with aspect of ego organization (structural development)

Object Relations II : 

18 Object Relations II Autistic Phase Newborn infant is generally unresponsive to environmental stimuli and is dominated by physiological needs and processes Autonomous ego is undifferentiated and the infant literally exists in their own world

Object Relations III : 

19 Object Relations III The Symbiotic Phase Child begins to perceive a need satisfying object “Mommy”; however the ego is perceived as an extension of self. In the symbiotic state, the mother’s ego functions for the infant, and it is the mother who mediates the external world. Begins the process of investing self in the outer world. Separation-Individuation: Differential Subphase Between four to five months of age. Child begins to separate the caregiver from the self. Separation-Individuation: The Practicing Subphase 8-10 months of age…the infant begins to move away from the mother physically through crawling Separation anxiety…do you still exist? Do I?

Object Relations IV : 

20 Object Relations IV Separation-Individuation: Rapprochement Subphase Mommy is no longer omnipotent I can do it by myself Still requires secure attachment figure to feel safe, but needs it less Object Constancy The child can be on their own without the mother’s presence Object permanence helps with this

Case Study in Ego Psychology : 

21 Case Study in Ego Psychology Page 208 Treatment Goals Nurturing, maintaining, enhancing, or modifying inner capacities Mobilizing, improving, or changing environmental conditions Improving the fit between inner capacities and external circumstances Goals arrive at in collaboration with the client

Case Study in Ego Psychology : 

22 Case Study in Ego Psychology Assessment (Biopsychosocial Hypothesis) Is the client’s problem a function of stresses imposed by current life roles or developmental tasks? Is the client’s problem a function of situational stress or traumatic events? To what extent is the client’s problem a function of impairments in ego capacities or developmental difficulties or dynamics? To what extent is the client’s problem a function of a lack of environmental resources or supports or a poor fit between inner capacities and external circumstances? What inner capacities and environmental resources does the client have that can be mobilized to improve coping

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