Social work discussion


Question Description

Sigmund Freud is often hailed as the father of psychoanalytical theory. His theory was the first to point to the influence of early childhood experiences. However, psychoanalytical theory has received a lot of criticism. Although theories are supposed to be objective and value-free, they are developed within a sociocultural and political context. For example, with historical perspective, it is possible to see that values within the Western Victorian era influenced Freud as he developed his theory. Another criticism is that many psychoanalytical concepts cannot be measured. For example, how do you measure the id, ego, and superego or the notion of unconscious conflicts? As a result, it is difficult to test the accuracy of these concepts using social science research methods.

It is important to critically evaluate theories for their practical use. For example, is it appropriate to use a theory when working with diverse populations or with populations different from those with whom the theory was normed (e.g., women, racial and ethnic minority groups, those who are economically disadvantaged)? Finally, are the assumptions of theories consistent with the values underlying the field? In this Discussion, you respond to some of these concerns.

  • Summarize the assumptions of Freud’s psychoanalytical theory in 2 to 3 sentences.
  • Explain whether you believe it is appropriate to apply psychoanalytic theory to women and individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups.
  • Explain whether you believe psychoanalytic theory is consistent with social work values and social work ethics.

Tutor Answer

School: Cornell University




Student’s Name
Institution Affiliation


Psychoanalytical Theory
Assumptions of the theory
Sigmund's psychoanalytical theory attempts to interpret the patient's thoughts, including their
free associations, dreams as well as fantasies. The psychoanalytical theory assumes that the
primary cause for mental illness lies in the patient's unconscious mind. Also, the theory assumes
that a person’s development is majorly determined by the events in their early childhood
(Schultz, 2017).

Psychoanalytic theory on women and individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups
It is not appropriate to apply the psychoanalytical theory on the groups mentioned above of
people because it pathologizes all of them, both who are suffering from individual and collective
effects. Ideally, the theory does not consider the harsh conditions and environments surrounding
these people. Therefore, it fails to understand that most of their psychological behaviors are not

pathological but logical responses to the condition or the situations which they live in. For
instance, victims of racism may display some behaviors which are not a pathological mental
illness but rather logical predictable reactions of chronic racism such as racial-related trauma or
even racism related fatigue.
Psychoanalytic theory consistency with social work values and social work ethics

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