Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality Development

Topics: Sigmund Freud, Developmental psychology, Psychology Pages: 6 (1589 words) Published: March 21, 2013
L & D Assignment 1: Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality Development

Submitted By Pravin Bang

Submitted To, Prof. Abhishek Kumar

Psychoanalytic Theory, conceived by Sigmund Freud and developed and modified by his colleagues, students, critics and later by 'neo-Freudians' such as Erich Fromm in the 19th and 20th centuries, has been a significant influence and contribution to psychological research, treatment of mental illness and a general understanding of the development and functioning of the human psyche[1].

Tenets of Psychoanalytic Theory
Though the field has developed into several complex branches with a variety of ideas and theoretical frameworks since its conception, some of its basic and fundamental tenets can be recognised as follows: 1.)Human personality is determined by, apart from hereditary characteristics, childhood environment, experiences and memories. 2.)The Human mind is divided into three 'parts'(not physically): Conscious, Pre-conscious and Subconscious. The conscious mind is where we put things which we are currently attentive to, the pre-conscious mind is is where we put things we are aware about but which are not the subject of our attention and finally the subconscious is where we have little control or awareness about the processes or emotions, i.e., is not reached the conscious mind. 3.)The above concept was later evolved into the idea of the Id, Ego and Super Ego, by Freud. Id is the process of the mind which operates almost solely on the 'pleasure-principal' and is the source of our impulses and desires, it is a part of the mind when an individual is born. Ego develops during infancy and operates on the 'reality principle', it is aware of the constraints and limitations of the real world. The Super ego refers to how we perceive ourselves and our moral and ethical values. In this model the function of Ego is to balance the Id and Super Ego within the constraints and limitations of the real world. 4.)Human impulses and desires originate from the subconscious mind, this has the profound consequence that we are not in control of our behaviour and drives. The main human drives are sex and aggression. Conflict and neurosis arises when the attempt to bring subconscious drives into the conscious mind meets psychological resistance, i.e., when certain emotions are 'repressed' and forced to remain in the subconscious primarily because of their incompatibility with the value systems and moral standards applicable to the self as perceived by the Super Ego. This is done through 'defence mechanisms'.

Psychoanalysis and Childhood Development
Psyschoanalytical theory has been an influential concept for explaining the development of an individual's personality. The two major theories regarding this subject are Freud's Psychosexual Development theory and Erikson's Psychosocial Development theory. It is worth noting that both these thoeries lend great significance to childhood environment and it can be said that psychoanalytical approaches led to childhood being regarded as being of much greater psychological significance than it had been historically.

Erkison's Theory of Psychosocial Development
Unlike Freud's Psychosexual theory, Psychosocial Development regards personality being continually affected and modified throughout the individual's lifetime. Erikson's theory defines the the term 'Ego Identity' which may be explained as the individual's perception and awareness of self developed through social interaction across his or her lifespan. Each stage in this theory is characterised by a conflict or 'challenge' which arises through differences in personal and sociocultural views and which the individual must resolve to grow into a better personality. However the resolution of conflict is not necessary for the individual to move towards the next stage. The eight stages of Erikson's theory are outlined below:

a.)First Stage: Starting from birth and lasting for one year, this stage...

References: 1.) Slater, Charles L. (2003), "Generativity versus stagnation: An elaboration of Erikson 's adult stage of human development", Journal of Adult Development 2.) Erikson, Erik (1956). "The problem of ego identity". Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 4: 56–121. 3.) Marcia, James E. (1966). "Development and validation of ego identity status". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 3: 551–558.
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