You don’t have to be a psychology major to have heard of Sigmund Freud. His name is perhaps the most well-known in the entire field of psychology. And that’s for good reason. His studies and theories revolutionized the way we think of psychology, and they continue to influence our understanding of psychology to this day.
In the 100-plus years since Freud first developed his theories, many other psychologists have built upon his approach. Taken together, this field of psychology is known as psychodynamics, which is explained in Saul McLeod’s article “Psychodynamic Approach.”1 This excellent primer on psychodynamics is one of numerous texts studied as part of the Themes and Theories of Psychology course taken by MS in Psychology students at Walden University.
In “Psychodynamic Approach,” McLeod describes psychodynamics in the following manner:
The psychodynamic approach includes all the theories in psychology that see human functioning based upon the interaction of drives and forces within the person, particularly unconscious, and between the different structures of the personality.
Freud’s psychoanalysis was the original psychodynamic theory, but the psychodynamic approach as a whole includes all theories that were based on his ideas, e.g., Jung (1964), Adler (1927), and Erickson (1950).
The words psychodynamic and psychoanalytic are often confused. Remember that Freud’s theories were psychoanalytic, whereas the term “psychodynamic” refers to both his theories and those of his followers. Freud’s psychoanalysis is both a theory and therapy.
Sigmund Freud, writing between the 1890s and the 1930s, developed a collection of theories which have formed the basis of the psychodynamic approach to psychology. His theories are clinically derived (i.e., based on what his patients told him during therapy). The psychodynamic therapist would usually be treating the patient for depression- or anxiety-related disorders.
McLeod goes on to outline the basic history of psychodynamic theory and research, providing the following important events:
Today, many psychologists continue to work in psychodynamics. And while individual researchers and theorists often diverge on specifics, they do adhere to the underpinnings of the theory as originally developed by Freud. These underpinnings can be expressed as four assumptions, which are, as McLeod writes:
Together, these assumptions have proven to be a profound and useful way of thinking about human psychology—which is why they’re studied to this day.
The importance of psychodynamics in the study of psychology cannot be overstated. However, when you enroll in Walden’s master’s in psychology program, psychodynamics is just one of the many topics you can explore. In fact, Walden’s master’s program in psychology offers several specializations, allowing you to focus on the area that best fits your professional goals, whether that includes a career in psychology or one of the many other careers that routinely require professionals with advanced psychology degrees.
In addition to allowing you to tailor your master’s degree in psychology to meet your goals, Walden also offers you the advantages of online learning. What advantages? For one, an online master’s in psychology program doesn’t require you to travel to a campus, giving you the ability to study from home instead. Another is that online psychology courses allow you to attend your master’s in psychology classes at whatever time of day works best for you.
Psychology is a dynamic and fascinating field that influences the way we think about ourselves and our society. And thanks to Walden’s online learning environment, earning a degree in psychology is more possible than ever before.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Psychology degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.