Humans seek to reduce anxiety through defense mechanisms Defense Mechanisms can be psychologically healthy or maladaptive, but tension reduction is the overall goal in both cases.
Today at the st Annual Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association, a University of Michigan professor who has spent decades applying scientific methods to the study of psychoanalysis will present new data supporting a causal link between the psychoanalytic concept known as unconscious conflict, and the conscious symptoms experienced by people with anxiety disorders such as phobias.
The research involved 11 people with anxiety disorders who each received a series of psychoanalytically oriented diagnostic sessions conducted by a psychoanalyst. Words capturing the nature of the unconscious conflict were then selected from the interviews and used as stimuli in the laboratory.
Although these words differed from patient to patient, results showed that they functioned in the same way. These verbal stimuli were presented subliminally at one thousandth of a second, and supraliminally at 30 milliseconds. A control category of stimuli was added that had no relationship to the unconscious conflict or anxiety symptom.
While the stimuli were presented to the patients, scalp electrodes record the brain responses to them.
In a previous experiment Shevrin had demonstrated that time-frequency features, a type of brain activity, showed that patients grouped the unconscious conflict stimuli together only when they were presented subliminally. But the conscious symptom-related stimuli showed the reverse pattern — brain activity was better grouped together when patients viewed those words supraliminally.
Highly significant correlations, suggesting an inhibitory effect, were obtained when the amount of alpha generated by the unconscious conflict stimuli were correlated with the amount of alpha associated with the conscious symptom alpha — but only when the unconscious conflict stimuli were presented subliminally.
No results were obtained when control stimuli replaced the symptom words. The fact that these findings are a function of inhibition suggests that from a psychoanalytic standpoint that repression might be involved.
For more than 40 years, Shevrin has led a team that has pushed at the boundaries between the disciplines of neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and psychoanalysis, looking for evidence that Freudian concepts such as the unconscious and repression could be documented through physical measures of brain activity.
His work has explored the territory where neurobiology, thoughts, emotions and behavior meet. In recent years, exchanges between Grunbaum and Shevrin explored the nature of the evidence for the existence and impact of unconscious conflicts.
In a publication, the first study referred to, Grunbaum agreed that Shevrin had obtained objective brain based evidence for the existence of unconscious conflict, but Grunbaum noted that he had not shown that these conflicts caused psychiatric symptoms.
His response to being informed of the new findings was an email stating:And its profound scientific understanding of the nature and experience of the female brain continues to guide women as they pass through life stages, to help men better understand the girls and women in their lives, and to illuminate the delicate emotional machinery of a love relationship.
An experiment that Sigmund Freud could never have imagined years ago may help lend scientific support for one of his key theories, and help connect it .
A riveting, revelatory, and moving account of the author’s struggles with anxiety, and of the history of efforts by scientists, philosophers, and writers to understand the condition As recently as thirty-five years ago, anxiety did not exist as a diagnostic category.
GRE Psychology Subject test.
STUDY. PLAY. Sigmund Freud and psychodynamic orientation. stress the role of subconscious conflict in the development of functioning and personality. the analyst and patient reconstruct the nature of the client's original conflict.
# Freud. Freud’s theory of unconscious conflict linked to anxiety symptoms in new U-M brain research June 15, An experiment that Sigmund Freud could never have imagined years ago may help lend scientific support for one of his key theories, and help connect it with current neuroscience.
Feb 03, · The sadness which you deposited with me enabled me to feel the conflict you are struggling with. On the one hand, you want, and maybe need, to overcome the guilt, shame, and insecurity.
On the other hand, you want to give in to these feelings and accept the identity they create and the post-trauma symptoms.