Psychology Essays (Examples)

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Pursuing an undergraduate degree in psychology is a fantastic way to gain general insight into human beings and can provide a foundation for graduate coursework in psychology as well as a launching pad for other careers with intensive human interaction, such as legal studies, education, or counseling. It is important for aspiring psychology students to realize that a bachelor’s level degree in psychology is not generally going to be sufficient to do actual field work as a psychologist, because research, clinical, and counseling positions all require additional education. In fact, a psychologist must have a doctoral degree. However, the knowledge and skills acquired in a psychology undergraduate program are critical for pursuing that additional education.

According to the American Psychological Association, “Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience — from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged. In every conceivable setting from scientific research centers to mental healthcare services, ‘the understanding of behavior’ is the enterprise of psychologists.” In other words, while many people think of psychology as focusing on abnormal psychology and psychopathology, the reality is that much of psychology focuses on normal human behavior. This approach is logical, since it is impossible to identify whether behavior is abnormal without knowing what normal human behavior is. Moreover, psychologists and other mental health professionals cannot help clients identify whether behaviors are adaptive or maladaptive without knowing the range of human behavior.

Understanding normal versus abnormal psychology requires an understanding of the normal curve, a term used to describe the distribution of the particular construct being described in the population at large. In fact, while many people think of psychology as a “soft science,” much of modern psychological theory has developed through very specific testing. As a result, an understanding of statistics and the scientific method are both critical for anyone studying psychology. The scientific method is used in psychology not only to help describe behaviors, but also with the goal of predicting those behaviors. Important components of the scientific method are: the hypothesis; independent and dependent variables; and operational definitions. Psychology students must also understand: univariate and multivariate research designs; data analysis; and qualitative and quantitative designs.

In addition, most people who study psychology spend time learning about the history of psychology. While not all psychologists endorse the theories of those who are considered founders of the field, there is no denying the important role that these men and women played in describing human behavior. Some important figures in psychology include: Franz Mesmer, Philippe Pinel, Charles Darwin, G. Stanley Hall, Wilhelm Wundt, Sigmund Freud, Sir Francis Galton, William James, Alfred Binet, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, John Watson, Rosalie Rayner, Carl Rogers, Jean Piaget, Karen Horney, Erik Erikson, and B.F. Skinner. Studying these figures highlights several factors about psychology. First, a psychology student needs to understand history and sociology, because historical attitudes influenced controversial psychological theories like eugenics. Second, there is no single accepted psychological theory that can be said to describe any aspect of human growth and development or functioning. Instead, there are competing theories put forth by advocates of different approaches to human behavior, which influenced by: culture, society, morals, ethics, and genetics.

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psychoanalysis and the different types of research

Words: 714 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 42310716

1. The basic structure of psychoanalysis and psychodynamic theory revolve around the idea that mental processes are automatically regulated by "the pleasure principle" and avoidance of pain. Why are these principles important to psychotherapy? Support your reasoning.

The tendency to avoid pain and seek pleasure is universal to humanity, noted Freud, who devised the term “the pleasure principle,” (“Pleasure Principle,” 2015). The pleasure principle became one of the central ideas and pivotal focal points of psychoanalysis and psychodynamic theory. The pleasure principle is an embedded function of the subconscious mind, suggesting that it is immutable and inevitable. However, the pleasure principle is driven primarily by the needs and desires of the id. The other two parts of the subconscious, in Freud’s model, can help regulate reactions to the pleasure principle. Those other two parts of the subconscious include the ego and superego. Together with the id, the ego and superego…… [Read More]


University of British Columbia (2017). Scholarly vs. popular sources. Retrieved online:


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Makari Rieff and Schorske Write about Freud

Words: 2400 Length: 7 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 95831297

Rieff, Schorske and Makari on Freud: Comparing and Contrasting Perspectives
George Makari argued that Freud was a product of his environment. The culture of Vienna at the time was ripe for something new—but Freudian psychology still needed some external help getting moving, and that came by way of Carl Jung and his experiments which brought a great deal of attention to Freud. Karl Schorske, on the other hand, contends that Freud was less the passive recipient of environmental effects and more the active thinker, whose goal was to give “a meaningful interpretation of Western civilization, and to find his own place in it.” Phillip Rieff, on the third hand, views Freud less as an interpreter of Western civilization and more as a re-maker of civilization—a man of revolutionary ideas that would reshape the West and redirect its course; Rieff saw Freud’s sense of “sublimation” as an essential concept in the…… [Read More]

Works Cited

Makari, George. Revolution in Mind. NY: HarperCollins, 2008.

Rieff, Phillip. The Triumph of the Therapeutic. IL: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Schorske, Karl. “Freud’s Egyptian Dig.” NYBooks.


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Unconscious Mind and Self-Development

Words: 1107 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 16195259

Annotated Bibliography
Hebbrecht, M. (2013). The dream as a picture of the psychoanalytic process. Romanian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 6(2), 123–142. Retrieved from
How can we better understand the various unknowns regarding the mind’s conscious as well as unconscious embedded aspects? This, according to Hebbrecht (2013) could be accomplished via an exploration of the underlying structure of dreams so as to better perceive or infer their relationship with psychological and personal connections that are implanted deep in the dream world? Dreams, as had been expressed by Freud, cannot merely be regarded as the unconscious thought’s expressive or direct form. The author, in this article, invokes Freud’s explication or elucidation of dreams in an attempt to initiate debate on the entire proposition as a product of an analytic process. Hebbrecht, in this enlightening article, seeks to elucidate the outcome of the psychoanalytic process, with the dream taking on a prominent role in the examination/evaluation.…… [Read More]