I have always had an interest in psychology and the different thoughts people had back in the day, throughout history regarding controversial issues. I thought I would introduce a new series on my blog 'psychological theories' on different things! This could be a continuing series, so if you do enjoy reading this then, please let me know. Today, we will be focusing on mental health treatment, and some theories a few psychologists had behind it...

Psychodynamic Theory by Sigmund Freud

Freud was a neurologist from Australia who made a new vision to the understanding of the human personality. He believed that depression was an act of inwardly directed anger as well as severe super – ego demands. His argument was, that depression is basically just like grieving, which can often occur within a reaction. For example, when you lose a loved one or somebody that was important to you. He appreciated the many ways in which our minds are troubled and anxious, and referred to them as being done by neurosis. ‘Neuroses’ are what he called the troublesome ones. This would include being troubled by anxiety, depression or being paranoid etc. 

He also believed and described this as there being a three-part conflict in our brains, firstly the ‘ID’ which is driven by the pleasure principle, the ‘super-ego’ which is driven by a desire to follow the rules and the ‘ego’ which is in between the other two and is there to accommodate them both somehow. To grow our understanding on these he advised us to think back in time back to childhood.

As children we apparently went through certain phases growing up, number one being the oral phase also known as the phase where we were being fed by our parents as well as dealing with feelings of ingestion. However, if our parents aren’t careful we will pick up certain neuroses such as taking pleasure in refusing food or wanting to be independent and eat for ourselves by not being fed. The second phase is ‘the anal phase’. This is when parents are demanding us on what to do etc. and if we are not disciplined and told what to do in this way then we may become ‘anally retentive’ which is also described as not doing as you are told by your parents. The third phase is known as ‘the phallic phase’. This is the belief that children of 6 years old have a sexual desire towards their parents and hate one parent but love the other. Not being able to fulfil these desires with their parents then makes the child angry. 

The treatment he came up with was a psychoanalysis treatment in which he analysed key things such as looking in to people’s dream, wish fulfilment's and slips of the tongue (parapraxes). 

The aim of this session was to release emotions and experiences which a client had held back. This can also be simplified in to basically making the unconscious, conscious. During this therapy session, Freud would ask the patient to lie down on a couch and relax, he would then ask them to tell him their dreams plus childhood memories whilst he was sat behind them making notes. This was a long process involving various sessions with the psychoanalyst. 

To simplify down this theory he basically believed that things which happened to you during childhood can contribute to the ways in which you later function in adult life. 

Cognitive Theory by Aaron Beck

Beck's theory was that depression is simply just a result of negative thinking. He was known as the father of cognitive theory and focused on exploring client’s beliefs through experiment and probing questions. He studied this mainly on people suffering from depression, identifying three processes which he thought were in control off depression. 

The first process was a cognitive triad of negative auto-thinking, the second was negative self-schemas and the third was having faulty information processes such as having errors in logic. 

The cognitive triad is a trio of three form of helpless thoughts which are common in people who are suffering with depression. These may include having negative thoughts about themselves or the future. The thoughts occur spontaneously and automatically without warning. For example, a depressed person like my client will see himself as useless and seeing the future as not worth living for anymore. He may also see this world and life as something that he cannot handle anymore as life throws the various obstacles in his way. A negative view of himself, a negative view of the world and a negative view of the future are all part of three components of the cognitive triad which interact. 

This can then lead to an infliction to the brains thought processes, memory and problem solving. A person can then grow an obsession with negative thinking for example, saying things like ‘I am ugly’ or ‘I am a failure’. Beck believed that people suffering from depression simply just have this negative self-schema developed within themselves as well as, from things around them. He thinks these could have been developed throughout certain bad experiences from childhood, such as having too over protective parents for example or being neglected and abused etc. they may have also been bullied at school from a young age or have had to experience the death of a sibling or parent. 

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this post and gained some new information! Let me know your thoughts on these theories down in the comments below. Are you interested in psychology too?



  1. Really informative, helpful and well written. Great post dear. xx

  2. I am fascinated by psychology and have always wanted to learn more about theories! This is really interesting :) x

    1. Me too, thank you. I am glad you think so :) x