Posted: Mar 29, 2010 7:45 am
by Lazar
Agrippina wrote:So why do people still say stuff like "you're projecting?" Or "you have daddy issues?"

Because it is appealing and often amusing.

And why do psychologists still ask people about their relationships with their parents, and how early they were toilet-trained etc.

Life histories are not uncommon in a range of approaches. This is not specific to psychoanalysis. I would be surprised if a majority of psychologists asked about toilet training.

I did a case study once about a woman who had three sons all of whom had speech problems as babies. There was no clinical reason for it, there was also another one who had a total obsession with bowel movements. The two cases were 20 years different in age. On in-depth discussion with the two cases both were found to have had over-zealous and too early toilet-training. Both mothers of the two cases boasted that they's never had a 'dirty' nappy. They'd used some conditioning to make the kids poop on demand creating an enormous obsession with toilet behavious. Luckily in the first family the kids were fairly young, some speech therapy for them and a few sessions with the mother to get over her own issues with poop, solved the problem to an extent. The older person never got over the obsession that he was 'constipated' if he didn't 'go' after breakfast every day.

Of course applying cognitive behavioural changes is at the root of the treatment but toilet-obsession was at the bottom of the initial problem.

See this i think is where Freud is so seductive. What a convenient explanation for this behaviour. However, how much effort was gone to to rule out confounds. Seems to me if a mother comes across as highly authoritative and controlling. We know from much empirical research that this has many negative consequences. There are lots of reasons for the behaviour presented and few of them need to go to the ludicrousness of psycho-sexual stages to explain.

I'm not saying the Freud or any of the old theories have any real value but if they don't then surely 'defence mechanisms' also don't apply and psychologists shouldn't use them. Or is my reasoning too simplistic. I just don't see how you can teach psychology without knowing the history, and some of that history is horrific and a lot worse than telling someone they have 'daddy' issues.

I agree teaching the history of psychology is very important. However, it should not be taught neutrally but in light of what we now know. What is the point of teaching Freud's theories as if they are right when we now know they are not?

In passing there is some empirical evidence starting to emerge for defence mechanisms, I think I liked to some sources is this thread or elsewhere.