Psychoanalytic and Trait Approaches to Personality Assessment

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Psychoanalytic and Trait Approaches to Personality Assessment Nicole Mowery
University of Phoenix

Psychoanalytic and Trait Approaches to Personality Assessment      Our personality is a tough puzzle to piece together because of its complex collection of behaviors and thought processes. Psychologist’s theories vary in their attempts to explain human personality, two such theories are the psychoanalytic theory and the trait theory. Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud was a man who believed that by exploring the unconscious minds of disturbed patients, he would get to the root of their personality. In contrast, Gordon Allports Trait theory attempts to explain personality under the assumption that personality traits can be measured and remain stable in various situations over time. These two personality theories differ first in their definition and second in their approach to the understanding of human personality. Although the psychoanalytic theory was first introduced by Sigmund Freud other psychoanalytic theorists built their theories based on his work. He conceived a topographic model that breaks down personality into three elements; Conscious, preconscious and unconscious. Our conscious mind being that which we are aware, preconscious consisting of those bits of information that you can readily recall and the unconscious which is made up of the information that was not readily available for recollection. He later came up with a structural model which breaks down into the Id, Ego, and Superego. According to Freud, the Id component is present at birth and consists of primal and instinctive impulses in order to satisfy basic wishes and needs. The ego is the element which develops from the id and it restrain the impulses of the Id. According to Freud, the Ego component functions in both the three parts of personality; the conscious, preconscious, and the unconscious mind. The third element of the psychoanalytic theory is the Superego, which helps in...
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