Analyzing the components of the psychoanalytic approach to personality Herbert Reeves PSY/250 April 26, 2011 David Brueshoff Analyzing the components of the psychoanalytic approach to personality Theories are analytical tools for understanding, explaining, and making predictions about a given subject matter. One such subject of much debate is the psychoanalytic theory. In order to grasp a hold of this intriguing subject matter, one has only to examine the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Alfred Adler. The most notable of the three is Freud.
It was Freud’s pioneering use of the term “the I” (“das Ich” in his native German, which was then translated into the Latin “ego”) that brought “ego” into common parlance and popular interest to the process of self-consciousness (Bridle, 2000) Freud coined the phase “Psychoanalysis ‘. Psychoanalysis—Freud’s innovative treatment method in which the patient is encouraged to speak freely about memories, associations, fantasies and dreams and which relies on Freud’s theories of interpretation—was Freud’s noble cause and, for a time, it was Alfred Adler’s and Carl Jung’s as well. Bridle, 2000) However, Adler never fully embraced Freud’s position and radical musings of sex, particularly Freud’s view of infantile sexual trauma. Adler later went on to developed what he called “Individual Psychology,” It was based on the idea of the indivisibility of the personality. His most significant divergence from Freud’s premises was his belief that it was crucial to view the human being as a whole—not as a conglomeration of mechanisms, drives, or dynamic parts.
In contrast to most psychological thinking of the time, Adler believed that, fundamentally, human beings are self-determined. (Hoffman, 2000) Carl Jung’s interest in psychology was more overt than and less assuming than Freud’s in that Jung’s approach bordered on the mythology and fantasy of the psychic world. Yet in the beginning, Jung found Freud’s theories about “repression” and “the unconscious” to be ingenious explanations of much of what he was finding in his work with his own patients. However, as Adler did, he struggled with Freud’s insistence on he primacy of the sexual drive. (Hollis, 2000) Later saying about Freud’s psychology “It was the explosion of all those psychic contents which could find no room, no breathing space, in the constricting atmosphere of Freudian psychology and its narrow outlook on sexual desire” Jung broke with Freud to develop his own school of psychology, which emphasized the interpretation of the psyche’s symbols from a universal mythological perspective rather than a personal biographical one. “The psyche is not of today,” he asserts. “Its ancestry goes back many millions of years.
Individual consciousness is only the flower and the fruit of a season. ” For Jung, the aim of life is to know oneself, and to know oneself is to plumb the depths of the inchoate seas of not only the personal unconscious but the collective unconscious as well. (Stein, 2000) Agree or Disagree Freud’s delving into the memories, associations, and fantasies of a patient has merit in that it allows the patient to observe past behavior and discuss possible actions to take in order to understand the complexities of the patients own conduct.
Adler’s theory that human beings are fundamentally self – determined has value because it describes an individual’s motivation to survive, yet his hypothesis of human beings being whole and not a conglomeration of mechanism, drives, or dynamic parts, has been proven invalid. Carl Jung’s premise that psychology emphasized the interpretation of the psyches symbols from a universal mythological perspective lacks a verifiable structured configuration. Freud’s Theory The Id seeks pleasure, The Superego follows rules and regulations, and The Ego tries to balance the two.
Freud’s Stages of Development According to Freud we have this psycho- sexual energy which is focused on certain anatomical parts. The first stage is the Oral Stage and this psycho- sexual energy is focused on the mouth. During this stage pleasure is derived from mouthy activities. Eating, breast feeding, thumb sucking all bring pleasure at this stage. If pleasure is not achieved at this stage a person can become fixated on this stage and later in life unconsciously attempt to satisfy their needs through overeating, smoking, talking too much.
The second stage is the Anal Stage it appears at around the age of two and three. This stage is focused on stimulation of elimination and is also the first time that you have to follow someone else’s rule. As in toilet training which can bring pleasure because you’re pleasing someone else by obedience. Fixation on this stage can lead to characteristics of being rude and aloof. The third stage is the Phallic Stage; this stage has to do with dominance, aggression, and competition.
You see little boys at the age of three or five playing king of the hill, I’m up here you’re down there games. If there is not enough satisfaction in this stage fixation can occur and manifest later in life where a person becomes very competitive or treat woman as prizes and not as equals. The fourth Stage is the Latent Stage during the latent period, the libido interests are suppressed. The development of the ego and superego contribute to this period of calm.
The stage begins around the time that children enter into school and become more concerned with peer relationships, hobbies, and other interests. The latent period is a time of exploration in which the sexual energy is still present, but it is directed into other areas such as intellectual pursuits and social interactions. This stage is important in the development of social and communication skills and self-confidence The Final stage is the Genital Stage during the final stage of psychosexual development; the individual develops a strong sexual interest in the opposite sex.
Where in earlier stages the focus was solely on individual needs, interest in the welfare of others grows during this stage. If the other stages have been completed successfully, the individual should now be well-balanced, warm, and caring. The goal of this stage is to establish a balance between the various life areas. Defense Mechanisms Defense mechanisms are very important in that they protect the core of the person that you try to represent.
During my divorce I unconsciously used three of Freud’s defense mechanisms. Reflecting back on my divorce I noticed that I repressed (Repression) a lot of what I was feeling. I rationalized (Rationalization) how I really felt and convinced myself that I was right even though I knew I was wrong. I was in complete denial of my actions (denial) fearing the backlash from my indiscretions. In Conclusion Sigmund Freud was a great contributor to the field of psychology. His gift to the world will always be appreciated.
As we celebrate the hundredth anniversary of psychoanalysis in America let us never forget how wise and forthright this man was.
References Bridle, S. (2000). Our ego issue. EnlightenNext Magazine, 17(17), 1. Edelstein, A. (2000). Our ego Issue. EnlightenNext Magazine, 17(17), 4. Hoffman, L. (2000). Our ego Issue. EnlightenNext Magazine, 17(17), 8. Hollis, J. (2000). Our ego Issue. EnlightenNext Magazine, 17(17), 12. Stein, H. (2000). Our ego issue. EnlightenNext Magazine, 17(17), 15.