Many of us are aware that we repeat behaviours yet often feel powerless to change these patterns, even when they disrupt important aspects of our lives. Ever since Sigmund Freud proposed that emotional experiences occurring in childhood can drive an adult’s actions and personality, the Psychodynamic approach has attempted to decode the unconscious.
But being able to reach the unconscious mind and learn to read it as one might characters of another language has proven difficult and some would say impossible.
Our Lower Sixth Psychology students have been studying the Psychodynamic approach, a perspective that describes the different forces, most of which are unconscious, that operate on the mind and direct behaviour and experience. They have used their understanding of more contemporary approaches to critique what is one of the most enduring perspectives in the discipline.
To bring the topic alive, Mr Heaton invited students to recreate the well-known projective inkblot tests, invented by Hermann Rorschach in 1921. The students applied coloured ink to a piece of paper, folded it and observed the resulting image. They were asked to record whatever pictures they could see in the ambiguous inkblots and attribute a possible positive psychological meaning to their interpretation of the image they created.
Although it was invented a century ago, Rorschach’s test is occasionally still used in diagnosis. Many psychologists have distanced themselves from it, wary of how it has sometimes caused the complex science of psychology to be trivialised in popular culture.
“Students had fun with this creative task and produced some interesting pieces of artwork.”
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