Exploding Thoughts


Today was a quiet, mild Sunday afternoon, perfect for catching up on a little light reading. 
The following is what happened next inside my mind.

If psychodynamic theory is premised on personality being able to be measured quantitatively as an energy or mass and that mass/energy cannot gain or lose, only be transformed, then when we say in behavioral theory that we are looking to “extinguish” a behavior or even a personality trait, then does that mean we are only “transforming” that behavior or trait but not actually extinguishing it? If we can actually extinguish rather than transform, does that then mean this is a hole in Freud’s psychodynamic theory of personality? I realize that behavior is separate from personality but doesn’t personality lend to one’s behavior and vice versa?

For example, if I want to “extinguish” a habit that is say linked to some anxiety, then when I extinguish the habit, am I just transforming one habit into a different habit? And if anxiety is a part of the personality trait I have that is informing the habit, then if I’ve only extinguished the habit, then I still haven’t tackled the anxiety, right? So if the underlying problem is anxiety (neuroticism), then how does that transform and, more importantly, what exactly does it transform into based on psychodynamic theory?

Again, for instance, if we “talk” and that makes a specific anxiety “go away” then does that only transform that anxiety into something else as a part of a personality that cannot gain or lose but can only transform, or is that anxiety truly extinguished?

I think I’m looking for a more concrete way to think about this, but maybe I’m way off base. Also, I’m trying to make different psychological theories’ terms compatible with one another.

(I read one chapter of a book and this is what happened. This may explain much of why I am the way I am.)



3 thoughts on “Exploding Thoughts”

  1. You probably shouldn’t be thinking about this stuff when you have a calm Sunday. You never know when one is going to come around again! Some of Freud’s theory are disproved — aren’t they?

  2. Interesting post and I had to meditate on it for a while but I get the thinking behind it. I’m not sure whether health anxiety can be extinguished,. Sometimes the one thing you can be worried about can stop, and then it can be transformed into another health worry. I have heard that cbt can eliminate health anxiety for good. I need to find out x. I enjoyed reading this Mona x


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