Psychoanalytic Personality Assessment
March 6, 2011
Dr. Deborah Watson
Psychoanalytic Personality Assessment
Personalities are often very hard to figure out. Each person has a unique and sometimes complex personality and sometimes they do not mix with others. Different psychologists have different theories as to why people are the way they are. One theory is the psychoanalytic theory. Psychoanalytic theory digs into a person’s mind to find out where their problems stem from. The theories stem from childhood and then dig deep into who each person is as an adult. The following reflects on the theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Alfred Adler; they all have similarities, yet are completely different. Theories of Freud, Jung and Adler
Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung both believed in the unconscious personality. However, Freud believed more in the sexual energy of the unconscious and based his theory on the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is part of the newborn personality. Freud believed that the id is based on the pleasure principal; for example, when a child wants something such as food or a diaper change he or she speaks up by crying (AllPsych, 2004). After a few more years the ego develops. According to AllPsych (2004) “The ego is based on the reality principle. The ego understands that other people have needs and desires and that sometimes being impulsive or selfish can hurt us in the long run” (para. 4). After the ego, by age five, the superego develops and that is when morality starts to take part in the personality. The consciousness of right and wrong start to develop and ethical matters areweighed moreheavily on the mind. “In a healthy person, according to Freud, the ego is the strongest so that it can satisfy the needs of the id, not upset the superego, and still take into consideration the reality of every situation” (AllPsych, 2004, para. 6). According to Carl Jung’s theory, the mind is divided into three parts; the conscious ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious (Friedman and Schustack, 2009). The conscious ego is part of the personality that is conscious and also defines the sense of self (Friedman and Schustack, 2009). The personal unconscious contains thoughts that are not relevant to the point in time. In other words, when I am at work, I am thinking about work, not necessarily the assignments that need to be turned in for school. Those thoughts are not repressed those thoughts are simply put on hold until the relevant time comes along. The collective unconscious is experiencing something that a person feels has happened before. This theory is perhaps Jung’s most controversial because it goes into a deeper level of unconsciousness; much like the feeling of déjà vu (Friedman and Schustack, 2009). Carl Jung believed in the theory of dreams. He believed that dreams are a way of communicating with a person’s unconscious self. In other words, a dream could be a solution to a problem that a person might be having in his or her conscious life. Alfred Adler called his theory Individual Psychology because he believed in people’s motivations and their place in society (Friedman and Schustack, 2009). Adler also believed in birth order. He believed that the order that a person was born in directly affects the personality. Adler believed that the older children are affected the most because they are given undivided attention until the little brother or sister is born; now the older child feels second best. He did, however, believe in Freud’s issues relating to parenting skills. He believed, like Freud that spoiling a child will eventually lead to problems in adulthood. Adler identified two theories on parenting. One theory was pampering or overprotecting a child by giving him too much attention and sheltering him from the negatives of the outside world (AllPsych, 2004). Adler believes that sheltering a child from the realities of the world would...
References: AllPsych, (2004). Chapter 3: Personality development. Psychology 101. Retrieved March 6, 2011 from
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Friedman, H. and Schustack, M., (2009). Personality: classic theories and modern research. (4th ed.) New
York: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
Stevenson, D., (1996). Freud’s psychosexual stages of development. The Victorian web. Retrieved March
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