Psychology: Freud vs Skinner. The application of theorists in clinical practice.

Operant conditioning, Reinforcement, Reality principle


APRIL 2004


There are different models and theories of the psychological model of mind. But among these all, I preferred Freud's theory the most.

Sigmund Freud's theories of personality are the best known of all psychological theories and the most controversial as well. It was Freud who asserted that "reason does not rule behavior". It was his supposition that unconscious psychological forces were a strong force affecting individual thought and behavior. He stated that these forces originate in the emotions of childhood and continue to affect an individual throughout their lifetime. In his view, man was driven by primal instincts of the unconsciousness, and it was these instincts that lead to our greatest achievements, as well as to our worst side, like poverty, war, crime and mental illness. Freud postulated three levels of mind: the conscious mind, the preconscious mind, and the unconscious mind. He felt that our conscious mind only accounted for a small portion of the totality of the self, and the vast unconscious mind accounted for the rest (Bethel, 2004).

Freud believed that much of the unconscious content that affects humans is made up of inherited primal fantasies based on phylogenic experiences, that is fantasies that are species based, not individual based. Freud's main interests lay in understanding how personal experience shaped and formed the unconscious mind. It was his assertion that this formative pressure occurred through a process known as repression. Freud's "hedonic hypothesis" stipulated that people seek pleasure and avoid pain. It was also Freud who initiated the concepts of the id, ego, and the super-ego (Bethel, 2004).

The id is primarily concerned with biological drives and survival and is nearly always unconscious. It operates by the pleasure principle and is hedonistic, that is, it seeks to satisfy urges and reduce tensions. Freud theorized that the id is the structure of the mind that is...
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