Sigmund Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality Essay

736 Words Oct 7th, 2010 3 Pages
Sigmund Freud: Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality

According to Sigmund Freud, the key to a healthy personality is a balance between the Id, the Ego and the Superego.

The Id, the Ego and the Superego are three theoretical constructs, in terms of whose activity and interactions, the mental life can be described and complex human behaviours formed. Hence, these three components of the personality structure are functions of the mind rather than parts of the brain.

The Id
According to Freud, the Id is the only component of the personality structure that is present from birth. This facet of personality is entirely unconscious and includes all the instinctive and primitive behaviours, hence allowing us to get our basic needs met as
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The Ego functions in the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious mind.

The Superego
By the age of five, or by the end of the phallic stage of development (Sigmund Freud's theory of psychosexual development), the Superego develops. It develops due to the moral and ethical restraints placed on us by our caregivers. The Superego provides guidelines for making judgments.

The Superego can be divided into two parts:

➢ The Ego Ideal includes the rules and standards for good behaviours. These behaviours include those which are approved of, by parental and other authority figures. Obeying these rules leads to feelings of pride, value and accomplishment.

➢ The Conscience includes information about things that are viewed as bad by parents and society. These behaviours are often forbidden and lead to bad consequences, punishments or feelings of guilt and remorse.

The Superego acts to perfect and civilise our behaviour. It works to suppress all unacceptable urges of the Id and struggles to make the Ego act upon idealistic standards rather that upon realistic principles. The Superego is present in the conscious, preconscious and unconscious mind.

The interaction of the Id, the Ego and the Superego

With so many competing forces, it is easy to see how conflict might arise between the Id, the Ego and the Superego. Freud used the term Ego Strength to refer to the Ego's ability to function despite these dueling forces.


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