Freud

Topics: Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, Psychology Pages: 3 (982 words) Published: March 23, 2014
Introduction to Psychology
Psychoanalytic theory.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), commonly referred to as the father of the psychoanalytical approach by many (Heffernan,1997) believed that the occurrence of the second world war, and indeed the rise of the Nazis derived from the aggressive drives, which are present in everybody not being held at bay by an inner conscience (Atkinson, Atkinson, Bem, Nolen-Hoeksema and Smith, 2000). The following paragraphs will describe the varying levels that Freud believed encompassed the human mind, in his topographical and structural model, and how these each play a part in the development of the human personality.

Freud’s attempt to portray the mind as having three different levels was initially shown in his topographic model. This showed the mind as being split into three levels: conscious, preconscious and the unconscious (Kowalski and Westen, 2005). The conscious level, which is the highest of the three levels, symbolizes the current state of cognisance regarding thoughts and feelings at any given time. The preconscious is the middle level and is a collection of information which is readily available to be called upon when required by the conscious. Answers to such questions as “What is the capital city of France?” are stored in the preconscious. The lowest level and the largest of them all is the unconscious which suppresses inaccessible feelings that are believed to affect behavior (Atkinson et al, 2000). Freud’s interpretation towards the unconscious was negative and he postulated that the contents where unobtainable as a defense mechanism for self-preservation, suppressing any conflicting impulses and memories which may be seen as socially unacceptable (Roth, 1997).

During his work Freud came to appreciate that his original topographical model was too simplistic in design to illustrate the human per`sonality. The structural model was developed which adopted an iceberg image to depict what he claimed...
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