Comparison of Theorists
Mary M Brown
Grand Canyon University: PSY 255
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Sigmund Freud’s approach to personality would be and still is a debate within our society today. Researchers and psychologist are still observing his approach and there are still unanswered questions. One approach Freud did not use was how our society and culture would effect the person we all would become. The one thing that most Neo-Freudian’s agreed on was that early childhood experiences would have an effect on your personality development. Freud laid the path for psychologist and many would take what they learned from him and go in their own direction.
Alfred Adler was one Neo-Freudian that disagreed with Freud. Their disagreement was not only professional it became personal. Adler approach was called the individual psychology. He helped us understand personality with striving for superiority, how our parents were an influence on our personalities as children and the effect of our birth order. Adler like Freud believed that your earlier years were important when it came to shaping your personality when you became and adult. One thing Adler believed is that the parent’s role would affect the child. The first thing parents should not do is give the child too much attention. By stating this Adler meant pampering. He believed that pampering would take away children’s independence. They become more dependent on people, and they don’t learn how to make their own decisions. He believed that they should be able to make mistakes and make their own decisions, because this would be good for them and they would learn to be more dependent. Another mistake parents make stated Adler was they would not give children enough attention, which would lead to neglect. If children don’t receive enough attention they would grow up to be distant, and would not know how to be intimate or carry on a relationship. Adler was the first psychologist to mention that the order in which you were born would shape your personality.
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Carl Jung also would leave Freud and Freud would feel betrayed by that. He took him leaving personal as well. Jung was curious with religious concepts. He would take Freud’s idea of unconscious and put his own twist to it. We as people would inherit our physical characteristics, but Jung believed we inherited unconscious psychic characterics as well. After Jung left Freud he would travel around the world and study other cultures and this is were he would base his theory on. He relied a lot on ancient mythology and Eastern religion. Jung believed that the collective unconscious is made up by something called the primordial images. These images would help people respond to our society in a different way, there called archetypes. Basically Jung would describe the collective unconscious as the concept of instincts. He also believed that every man had a feminine side and female had a masculine side. He had three archetypes that he spoke on the anima which is the feminine side of the male, and the animus is the masculine side of female. Stating this, Jung was the first psychologist to point out people would have both male and female characteristics within themselves. Another archetype he had was called the shadow. The shadow was known as the dark side that people would possess. It does not actually mean that people are evil. The main thing that Jung is known for was his focus on introversive and extroversive types. An introvert was someone who focused more inwardly, this person was not the social type and focused more on themselves. An extravert focus just the opposite their focus was outward. Jung, like Freud would stay on the topic of human behavior.
Karen Horney was a female psychologist who disagreed with how Freud viewed women. Freud stated that men and women were born with different personalities. (pg 111 n.d.). Horney would disagree with that, she thought that our social and culture played a bigger role in our
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personality then biology. She studied a term called neurosis, which means neurotic. Horney’s definition of neurotic is that people are trapped in a self-defeating interpersonal style. The way people interact with others prevents them from developing the social contact they unconsciously crave. (pg 112 n.d.). This will lead to a defense mechanism to help with their feeling of anxiety. Freud would say neurosis was an unconscious battle between various aspects of personality. Horney would state that it would start off in your childhood. Horney had three styles neurotics would use to avoid anxiety experiences. They were called “moving away from people”, “moving toward people”, “moving against people.” Moving away from people, this is when children would learn to just tune people out. When in a hostile environment or situation, instead of engaging with the others they would just tune the person out. Basically ignore the situation. As adults they become sheltered. They would find jobs with little interactions and they would reframe from being in a relationship or intimate. These people would become emotionless and if attached to someone or something the feeling of emptiness while a child would all return. Moving toward people, these people become very dependent on others. They yearn for affection and strive to get accepted by their parents. This yearning would temporally relive them for any anxiety they are having, but in later years they would rely on this. As adults they would have more then usual need for love and affection. They don’t want to be lonely, and believe that any relationship they are in is a relationship. They are demanding affection and don’t know how to love, they are more clingy. Moving against people, these people would rather fight. They have the urge to have power while pushing around children. These individuals believe that being aggressive and mean you can get what you can in that form. You basically take control of the matter before anyone else does. One thing that Horney debated about was Freud theory on
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women. Freud stated women had “penis envy”, which is the desire that every girls as to be a boy”(pg 114 n.d.). Horney disagreed and stated that men envy us women and the ability we have to bear and nurse children, this was called the “womb envy”. Horney was not stating that men were not pleased with themselves but simply stating that we all have qualities that each other admirer. Horney did point out when Freud was making his theory on woman that he was living in a time where woman were treated the way they should have been, he was living in a era where the culture would have helped his influence on the decisions he made for women.
Erick Erikson would use some of Freud ideas in his theory; he would add some of his own ideas. Freud believed that the ego was between id impulses and superego demand; however Erikson believed that the ego played a bigger part. Erikson believed that the ego played a powerful, independent part of personality. (pg 106 n.d.). It would help with your identity, and your need to over come the environment. Your ego is to help you get your sense of identity. The term identity crisis comes from Erikson. You would usually find this in adolescents; they seem to not know which way they are going in life. Freud ended his personality development around six years of age, as for Erikson he said it would continue throughout a person’s life. By saying this he gave us eight stages that start from when you are a baby until you’re at an old age. The first stage is basic trust versus mistrust this stage is during infancy years, newborns have no choice but to rely on everyone around them. Autonomy versus shame and doubt is during the toddler’s years, when children want to feel powerful and independent. At the toddler stage Adler stated parents should not pamper, as for Erikson he stated they should not be overprotective at this stage. Initiative versus guilty is early childhood, children learn how to organize and they will learn to set goals and kick down and challenges that come their way. Industry versus
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inferiority is elementary school age years, this when children soon find out there is more competition out their in the world. Identity versus role confusion is adolescence years, when teenagers find out who they are and what they want in life. Intimacy versus isolation is young adulthood years, when you seek for the relationship you have always longed for. Generatively versus stagnation is adulthood years, when you want to guide the next generation because you feel as though you have not done everything you want in your life. Ego integrity versus despair is old age years, when you look at your past life and smile you know you have that sense of integrity, but if you don’t you know at this time, it’s too late because time is short now.
These four Neo-Freudians have their own approach on personality psychology. When reading all of their perspectives, I would agree to disagree with most. I agreed with Erikson’s approach with the eight stages, Horney was believable because I am a woman and I could relate to where she was coming with her feminine psychology approach. Jung was the more vibrant one and he dug deep into different cultures, and I disagreed with Adler’s approach with the birth order, but would agree with his perspective on how parents pampered and neglected their children. So like there are still debates and intellectual conversations about personality psychology, I would have to debate as well, because there are so many different approaches you can lean towards when it comes to this topic.
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Burger, J. (2010). Personality. CengageLearning. Eighth edition