Psychology is a social science academic discipline that involves many ideas about personality development. The most and widely known theory in Psychology is a theory of Sigmund theory called the theory of Psychoanalysis. Other theories in Psychology like behavioral, cognitive and so on developed either agreeing or disagreeing with Freud. Weiten ,(2007) defined psychoanalysis as a theory of personality development and change which places more emphasis on the role of biological factors in determining one’s behaviors. Personality in simple terms is just what makes a person unique from others. Although psychoanalysis theory put heavy emphasis on biological determination of behaviors, as a theory it is claimed to be theoretical comprehensive of defining personality, thus this essay is about the theoretical comprehensive of psychoanalytic theory and how it s criticized as it put more emphasis on biological determination of behaviors.
Concepts that constitute psychoanalytic theory
Meyer, Moore and Viljoen (2008) they stated that Freud theory is still regarded the most comprehensive theory of personality development of human being because of its clear concepts in describing individual’s behaviors. The theory comprises very well-known psychotherapy methods such as free association, dream analysis and transference. Moreover, the theory credited the influence from different aspects such as religion, social norms and cultural aspects of human nature.
In this essay I aim to describe and evaluate Carl Jung’s theory concerning personality types and show how they might usefully help a therapist to determine therapeutic goals. I will also look at the origins and characteristics of attitudes and functions and show how these can be related to psychological disturbance. Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung was born in 1875 to a reverend who had lost ...
In addition, the theory is credited for outlining that in order to understand individual’s personality one has to know at what level of consciousness a person is at. There are three level of the mind; these are conscious, preconscious and the unconscious. Jacob (2003) as well as Russell, Jarvis and Gorman(2004) described the three level as follow: the conscious mind contain information and ideas that a person is aware off, for instance a person’s first name, on the other side the preconscious mind consists of information that the mind is not aware off but can be easily accessible with little effort for example the trauma a person experienced during childhood and finally the unconscious mind has information that the mind is not aware off at all for example dreams and the slip of the tongue.
One needs to understand another’s personality when they know what structure it. The structure of personality contains the id, ego and the superego. Meyer et.al (2008) further explained the three structure of personality as follow: id as the original system of personality, innate, unconscious, it is primarily a source of psychic energy, seat of instinct, it is irrational, illogical, immoral and seek pleasure immediately, meaning it operate on the pleasure principle to gratify its need. Moreover, the ego is the reality of the person, very logic, and moral, rational, conscious, operate on the reality principle and mediate the conflict between the id and the superego. Lastly the superego is the structure of personality that is mostly concerned with what is right and wrong, it represent ideal rather than the reality, it strive for perfection, if it succeed one will feel pride and self-love, if it fails the person will develop shame and feeling of guilty and it operate on the moral principle.
There are different skills that are important and which contribute to positive social development in life. These skills help a person to be able to carry out social roles and responsibilities. Children need to learn all these skills both in school and in their homes so that they are able to handle life situations. Conflict resolution skills are very necessary for children. This is because ...
Due to the conflict between the id and the superego anxiety is produced as a result of control over the available psychic energy. Meyer et.al (2008) defined anxiety as the ego’s reaction to avoid, an uncomfortable feeling which motivates the ego to avoid danger by reducing anxiety level. There are three level of anxiety namely reality, neurotic and moral anxiety. The role of the ego is to reduce anxiety but if it fails personality problems develop, the ego then develops the defensive mechanisms to relief the anxiety. Example of these ego defensive mechanisms is denial, projection, repression, regression, rationalization, reaction formation, and fixation and so on.
Shaping of our personality
Meyer et.al (2008) stressed that our childhood experiences determine who we are as adults. Our first five years of development are extremely influential in shaping personality in adulthood. So, there are five stages of development called the psychosexual stages of development, namely: oral, anal, phallic, latency and genitals, they are called psychosexual stages because the theory primarily focuses is on the development of the sex drive and on how society and the child deal with the accompanying problems. As a child progress from one stage to the next it is seen as the result of changes in the source of sexual drive energy. All these stages have influential on our personality development and the first five years of a child is very crucial in determining behavior.
Appraisal of psychoanalysis theory
This theory is very comprehensive because it can be used in describing personalities of different people from different backgrounds, meaning across different culture. It is true that our behaviors are shaped by unconsciousness. All human beings go through different stages of development and the relationship between a child and his/her parents impact on the child’s personality during the first five years of development.
Russell et.al (2004) emphasized that because the theory is based on biological determination of behaviors is criticized. It lack or has poor testability. For example penis envy that girls experienced during the phallic psychosexual stage of development it cannot be tested scientifically that apparently make women to believe unconsciously that they are inferior to men. The id as a structure of personality is biological and one will never know whether Freud actually saw the id as a childlike part of personality or he described it as metaphorically, (Meyer et.al, 2008).
Jean Piaget (1896 – 1980) Piaget focuses on cognitive development; he was all about the child centred approach, he believed children are active learners and make sense of the world through their own experiences. Piaget believed that a child develops through a series of pre-determined stages to adulthood and said that a child needs to be at a specific stage of development to learn new concepts. His ...
He also put more emphasis on the ego as an aspect of personality.
The psychoanalytic theory was developed by Sigmund Freud. It is area of interest is to study human personality and how unconscious shape our behaviors. The theory is widely appraised for its theoretical comprehensive, because it has useful psychotherapy processes such as dream analysis, transference and free association. Moreover the theory identified three structure of personality namely the id, ego and the superego; these structures operates on the three level of mind which are the conscious mind, the preconscious and the unconscious mind. Anxiety can be produced as a result of the id and the ego in conflict but to relief this the ego has defensive mechanisms. Our personality is shaped during childhood, the first five years are very crucial in determining our behavior as well as the relationship between the child and the parents. All human being across different culture go through different stages of development called the psychosexual stages of development. The theory credited the idea of religion, art and culture in determining personality. All these concepts have made the psychoanalytic theory comprehensive, however because it put heavy emphasis on biological determination of behaviors like the id structure and penis envy during the phallic psychosexual stage is got criticized.
University of Namibia
Faculty of Humanities and Social Science
Human Science department
Psychoanalytic theory (appraisal and criticisms)
Name : Shikonga Priskilla N
Student number : 201171546
Course : Advanced Personality Theories
Lecturer : Dr. A.E.E. Shikongo
Date : 17 March 2014
Table of contents page number
1. Psychoanalytic theory………………………………………….1
... psychoanalytic theory helps us to understand how the different parts of our mind interplay during depicting a certain behavior and how that influences one’s personality. ... or they just deserve to be forgotten. The Id, Ego, Super ego according to Sigmund Freud in his writings explained that ... and it expresses itself inform of sexual energy. The Ego, on its part, deals with the uneasiness brought about ...
2.1. Introduction ……………………………………………….1
2.2. Concepts that constitute Psychoanalytic theory…………..1-2
2.3. Shaping our behaviors……………………………………..2
2.4. Appraisal of psychoanalytic theory………………………..3
2.5. Criticisms of psychoanalytic theory……………………….3
2. References …………………………………………………….4
Abbott, J. (2001).
Social and Personality Development. Taylor and Francis inc. Canada and United State of America.
Jacob, M. (2003).
Sigmund Freud: Key Figures in Counseling and Psychotherapy (2nd ed).SAGE publication ltd. London.
Meyer, W.F., Moore, C. & Viljoen, H.G. (2008).
Personology: From Individual to Ecosystem. Heinemann publishers (pty) ltd. Cape Town.
Russell, J., Jarvis, M. & Gorman, P. (2004).
Angels of Psychology (2nd ed).
Nelson Thornes ltd. United Kingdom.
Weiten, W. (2007).
Psychology: Themes and Variations (7th ed).
Thomson Learning, Inc. United States of America.