Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory
From that, psychology evolved into a science of the self. James (1890) viewed the self as a fundamental concept in the ‘science of mental life’ or psychology. James (1890) believed the self could and should be studied scientifically. In James’ (1890) radical empiricism, he makes the distinction between the objective self (me) and the subjective self (I). Poll and Smith (2003) …show more content…
The most well-known psychodynamic theory of personality is S. Freud’s (1900) psychoanalytic theory. It can be seen as a response to James’ (1890) radical empiricism.
S. Freud (1900) initially believed there were three unconscious motives responsible for all human behaviour; sex, aggression, and anxiety reduction. Sex was the most important motive. However, sex was later changed to Eros (the life motive), aggression to Thanatos (the death motive) and anxiety reduction was deemphasised (S. Freud, 1927).
S. Freud (1927) developed a personality structure present in all humans consisting of the id, ego and superego. The id is an unconscious entity present from birth. Both the Eros and Thanatos motives reside in the id. As it only relates to the other personality entities, not the environment, it is the least accessible structure. The id is guided by the pleasure principle either directly through sexual experience or indirectly through fantasies.
The ego mediates the id’s demands with the superego’s moral to reduce conflict within the individual. It develops between ages one to two as the individual starts to confront their environment. Unlike the id, the ego is governed by the reality principle as it is aware of the environment and adjusts the individual’s behaviour to satisfy the id in socially acceptable …show more content…
Unlike the id and ego which are internal developments, the superego is an external imposition. It incorporates the moral standards perceived by an agent of authority within the environment e.g. a parent. Both positive and negative aspects of these standards of behaviour are represented within the superego. The positive aspects are seen as the perfect behaviour to emulate whereas the negative aspects determine taboo activities.
The ego uses defence mechanisms to prevent anxiety arising from conflict between the id and superego such as projection; attributing unwanted urges as belonging to someone else; conversion; expression of intrapsychic conflict as physical symptoms; and displacement; redirecting urges towards less threatening objects.
S. Freud (1905) placed great emphasis on child development as he believed his adult patients’ neurotic disturbances were due to their childhood. He developed six psychosexual stages of development ranging from birth to adulthood in which unresolved conflict results in certain personality characteristics; Oral, Anal, Urethral, Phallic, Latency,