Theories on Personality Development

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Alice Walters
10/04/2011
Dr. Ollerman
Theory of Personality
The world is made up of billions of people who have billions of different personalities to go with them. Our personality traits come in opposites. We think of ourselves as optimistic or pessimistic, independent or dependent, emotional or unemotional, adventurous or cautious, leader or follower, aggressive or passive. Many of these are inborn temperament traits, but other characteristics, such as feeling either competent or inferior, appear to be learned, based on the challenges and support we receive in growing up. I’m going to discuss a brief description of my theory on personalities. My ideas for personality development are primarily driven by learned behavior. I believe that personality mainly derives from the kind of environment that had (what kind of home/atmosphere did they grow up in and who they were surrounded by), child hood (parental involvement, social skills with other children, and relationships with other family members/friends), upbringing and characteristics that were embedded into the memory (how you were raised, i.e. by church oriented family, alcoholics, drug abusers, single mom/dad, etc) and personal development over the years as you age into adulthood and so on (could have had horrible childhood, but grew up making decisions to be a better person with standards or a bad person with no morals). I agree with many theories of personalities from Freud, Jung, Horney, Erikson, and a few others. I will go into details about the things I agree with from these past theorists. The first theorist I agree with is Defense Mechanisms from Sigmund Freud. All defense mechanisms begin with repression of unacceptable impulses, that is, forcing them to be unconscious, but repression ties up energy, almost draining it. Defense mechanisms range from primitive ones, first developed in infancy, to more mature ones, developed later on in life. I also agree with his theory about the Levels of Consciousness. “What is in your mind is not identical with what you are conscious of; whether something is going on in your mind and whether you hear of it are two different things” –Freud. Freud refers to the levels of consciousness as the conscious, the preconscious, and the unconscious. First, the conscious refers to the experiences of which a person is aware; including memories and intentional actions. We are aware of consciousness and accept it as us; we identify with it. Second the preconscious is the material that is not in awareness at a particular time can be brought to awareness readily. It includes information that is not at the moment. The second theorist I agree with is Erik Erikson on his theory of the psychosocial stages. Erikson’s theory was stemmed Freud’s psychosexual stages, but Erikson emphasized more of the social aspects of each. He extended the stage concept throughout life, giving a life-span approach to development in a classic set of eight stages. “The first four stages correspond to Freud’s oral, anal, phallic, and latency stages. Freud’s genital stage encompasses Erikson’s last four stages” (Theories of Personalities, pg. 128). 1.) The first stage is the Trust versus Mistrust, which usually occurs in infancy, but can occur in adults as well. Erikson also referred to infancy as the Oral Sensory Stage (as anyone might who watches a baby put everything in her mouth) where the major emphasis is on the mother's positive and loving care for the child, with a big emphasis on visual contact and touch. If we pass successfully through this period of life, we will learn to trust that life is basically okay and have basic confidence in the future. If we fail to experience trust and are constantly frustrated because our needs are not met, we may end up with a deep-seated feeling of worthlessness and a mistrust of the world in general. 2.) The second stage strengthens one’s will and values in personality development. During this...
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