Theory of Psychosexual Development

Topics: Sigmund Freud, Psychosexual development, Anal stage Pages: 7 (2364 words) Published: June 20, 2013
ESSAY TITLE: “Evaluate the extent to which Freud’s theory of psychosexual development can help us to understand a client’s presenting issue?”.


Words 2366
“Evaluate the extent to which Freud’s theory of psychosexual development can help us to understand a client’s presenting issue?”. Introduction

In order to evaluate the extent to which Freud’s theory can help to understand a client’s presenting issue, an understanding of the theory will be discussed. I shall then look at the criticisms in order to make my evaluation, before coming to my final conclusion.

The Theory behind Psychosexual Development

Born on May 6, 1856 in Moravia, Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, developed the field of psychoanalysis. Freud developed many theories including those that focus on the unconscious, the interpretation of dreams, Id, ego, and super ego, and what is referred to as the psychosexual development theory. 

Freud saw the unconscious mind as the actual source of mental energy, which determined behaviour, and as many psychological approaches still assert; behaviours is directed by an individual’s goals. Freud believed that behaviour is the direct result of influence of all prior experience, and these influences have greater effect if from childhood. According to Freud these experiences formed solid foundations on which a developing child would structure the rest of its life. Adult personality was formed from childhood, according to the experience and treatment as a child.

Freud formed the opinion that the early experiences of childhood were responsible for the development of personality, especially during the first five years of life. He then went further and divided the infant’s development into stages relating to the relative importance of zonal regions of the body, which were relevant to the infant at a particular point in time. Oral Stage

The oral stage occurs in an infant’s life from birth to 18 months. During this time, an infant is focused with receiving oral pleasure. This occurs through breast or bottle feeding, or sucking on a pacifier. It is believed that if an infant receives too much or too little oral stimulation, they may develop a fixation or a personality trait that is fixated on oral gratification. It is believed that these people may focus on activities that involve the mouth such as over eating, biting the fingernails, smoking, or drinking. The theory states that these people may develop personality traits such as becoming extremely gullible or naive, always following others and never taking the lead, and becoming extremely dependent upon others. Anal Stage

The anal stage is directly related to a child’s awareness of bowel control and gaining pleasure through the act of eliminating or retaining faeces. Freud’s theory puts the anal stage between 18 months and three years. It is believed that when a child becomes fixated on receiving pleasure through controlling and eliminating faeces, a child can become obsessed with control, perfection, and cleanliness. This is often referred to as anal retentive, while anal expulsive is the opposite. Those who are anal expulsive may be extremely disorganised, live in chaos, and are known for making messes.  Phallic Stage

Freud believed the phallic stage or the Oedipus or Electra complexes occurs during a child is three to six years of age. The belief is that male children harbour unconscious, sexual attraction to their mothers, while female children develop a sexual attraction to their father. Freud taught that young boys also deal with feelings of rivalry with their father. These feelings naturally resolve once the child begins to identify with their same sex parent. By identifying with the same sex parent, the child continues with normal, healthy sexual development. If a child becomes fixated during this phase, the result could be sexual deviance or a confused sexual identity. Latency...
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