Ego Psychology

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EGO PSYCHOLOGY By Tiffany Bracey

What is ego psychology? : 

What is ego psychology? Ego psychology is the biopsychosocial theory of human behavior that underpins ego-oriented treatment. Ego psychological theory consists of a related set of concepts about human development that focus on the executive arm of the personality---the ego---and its relationship to other aspects of the personality and to the external environment.

Freud and Ego Psychology : 

Freud and Ego Psychology Freud proposed the structures of the Id, Ego and Superego Led to an understanding of how an individual interacts with external world, as well as responds to internal forces

Slide 4: 

Id The seat of the instincts Superego The conscience and ego-ideal Ego Defined by it’s functions Mediates between the drives of the id and the prohibitions of the superego Institutes defense mechanisms to protect the itself from anxiety

Key Distinctions in Ego Psychology : 

Key Distinctions in Ego Psychology The ego has its own energy source and is differentiated from the id (Hartmann). 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 (Spitz, Mahler, Ainsworth and Bowlby).

Ego Psychology and Social Work : 

Ego Psychology and Social Work Traditional social work was based on a psychoanalytic model up until the 1930’s Ego psychology embodied a more optimistic and humanistic view of human functioning Focuses on the person-environmental transactions Focuses on client’s ego strengths, as well as deficits How developmental outcomes impact ego function Degree to which external environment influences successful coping

Basic Assumptions of Ego Psychology : 

Basic Assumptions of Ego Psychology People are born with an innate capacity to function adaptively The ego is responsible for negotiating between internal needs and outside world The ego contains basic functions essential to one’s successful adaptation to the environment The ego development occurs sequentially The ego not only mediates between individual and environment but also mediates internal conflict

Basic Assumptions (Continued) : 

Basic Assumptions (Continued) Social environment shapes personality Problems in social functioning must be viewed in relation to possible deficits and fit between needs and capacities and environmental conditions and resources

Main Concepts of Ego Psychology : 

Main Concepts of Ego Psychology Ego Functions: Means by which the individual adapts to the world Reality Testing Judgment Sense of Reality about the World and Self Regulation and Control of Drives, Affects and Impulses Object Relations Thoughts Processes Adaptive Regression in the Service of the Ego Defensive Functioning Stimulus Barrier Autonomounous Functions Mastery-Competence Synthetic/Integrative Function

Main Concepts of Ego Psychology : 

Main Concepts of Ego Psychology Ego Strength Internal psychological equipment or capacities that an individual brings to his or her interactions with the social environment May vary according to the situation Defense Mechanisms Protects the individual from anxiety Largely unconscious Normative use…but falsifies and distorts reality Helps a person function without undue anxiety Under relenting stress, defense mechanisms will fail (psychosis)

Common Defense Mechanisms : 

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 Sublimation Intellectualization Rationalization Displacement Denial Somatization Idealization Splitting

Main Concepts of Ego Psychology : 

Main Concepts of Ego Psychology Ego Mastery & Adaptation The ego seeks independently to master its environment and interactions: A sense of one’s “effectance” has been nurtured According to Erikson, a mastery of stage-specific developmental tasks and crises occurs Object Relations Ego development through separation and individuation Takes into account the quality of interpersonal relationships with aspect of ego organization (structural development

Treatment in Ego Psychology : 

Treatment in Ego Psychology Goals Nurturing, maintaining, enhancing, or modifying inner capacities Mobilizing, improving, or changing environmental conditions Improving the fit between inner capacities and external circumstances Goals should be arrived at with the client

Treatment in Ego Psychology : 

Treatment in Ego Psychology Focus of Intervention Client should be involved in treatment planning Ego-oriented approaches are grouped according to whether goals are ego-supportive or ego-modifying Ego-supportive: aims at restoring, maintaining or enhancing individual’s adaptive functioning Ego-modifying: aims at changing basic personality patterns

Treatment in Ego Psychology : 

Treatment in Ego Psychology The Nature of Change Change results from: Mastering crisis or other stressful situations Understanding one’s behaviors and learning new behaviors and coping strategies Utilizing conflict-free areas of ego-functioning Use of relationships and experiences to correct for previous difficulties and deprivations Use of the environment to provide more opportunities and conditions for the use of one’s capacities

Implications for the Future : 

Implications for the Future Diminishing curriculum space effects training of social workers in ego psychology Ego psychology continues to have major impact on social work practice Continued efforts must be made in diversity Ego-oriented short term models need to be developed to keep up with present climate



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