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Dynamic Psychology

  1. David L. Wolitzky

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0287

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Wolitzky, D. L. 2010. Dynamic Psychology. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–4.

Author Information

  1. New York University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


A dynamic psychology considers mental experience and behavior as a function of the interaction of motivational, affective, and cognitive variables of different degrees of intensity or strength. There have been a variety of theories in the history of psychology that fall under the rubric of dynamic psychology. These theories, which have waned in influence in the past half-century, include general systems theory, behaviorist theories (e.g., Hull), Lewin's field theory, cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger), family systems theories, Henry Murray's need-press theory, and a variety of psychodynamic theories (e.g., Freud, Adler, Rank, Horney, Sullivan). Although differing in important respects, these theories have in common a focus on the intensity and direction of motivational forces and conflicts involved in adaptive and maladaptive goal-directed behavior. For example, approach-avoidance conflicts involve the dynamic interaction of competing needs, motives, fears, and goals.


  • dynamic;
  • psychodynamic;
  • freud;
  • object relations theory;
  • self-psychology