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Psychoanalytic Theory Personality According to Sigmund Freud Personality An individual’s unique and relatively consistent patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving Personality Theory Attempt to describe and explain how people are similar, how they are different, and why every individual is unique Personality Perspectives • Psychoanalytic—importance of unconscious processes and childhood experiences • Humanistic—importance of self and fulfillment of potential • Social cognitive—importance of beliefs about self • Trait—description and measurement of personality differences Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) • Founder of psychoanalysis • Proposed the first complete theory of personality • A person’s thoughts and behaviors emerge from tension generated by unconscious motives and unresolved childhood Learn more about Freud at: conflicts. www.freud.org.uk www.lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/freud Psychoanalytic Approach • Developed by Sigmund Freud • Psychoanalysis is both an approach to therapy and a theory of personality • Emphasizes unconscious motivation – the main causes of behavior lie buried in the unconscious mind Psychoanalysis as a Therapy • A therapeutic technique that attempts to provide insight into one’s thoughts and actions • Does so by exposing and interpreting the underlying unconscious motives and conflicts Psychodynamic Perspective • A more modern view of personality that retains some aspects of Freudian theory but rejects other aspects • Retains the importance of the unconscious mind • Less emphasis on unresolved childhood conflicts The Psychodynamic Perspective: Freud’s View of the Mind Free Association • Freudian technique of exploring the unconscious mind by having the person relax and say whatever comes to mind no matter how trivial or embarrassing • Hypnosis – Relaxing a person into a highly The Couch suggestive state to uncover unconscious memories or conflicts Personality Assessment Projective Techniques • Interpretation of an ambiguous to trigger projection of one’s inner thoughts and feelings • Used to determine unconscious motives, conflicts, and psychological defenses & traits Rorschach Inkblot Test • Presentation and interpretation of a series of black and white and colored inkblots • Developed in 1921. • Personality test that seeks to identify people’s inner feelings by analyzing their interpretations of 10 inkblots • Numerous scoring systems exist Conscious Mind • All the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that you are aware of at this particular moment represent the conscious level Preconscious Mind • A region of the mind holding information that is not conscious but is easily retrievable into conscious awareness • Holds thoughts and memories not in one’s current awareness but can easily be retrieved (childhood memories, phone number) Unconscious Mind • A region of the mind that includes unacceptable thoughts, wishes, feelings, and memories • Not aware of these thoughts, wishes, etc… but they exert great influence over our conscious thoughts & behavior. • Freud felt that dreams were ―The royal road to the unconsciousness‖ – behind the surface image (manifest content) lied the true hidden meaning (latent content). • Can also surface as ―slips of the tongue‖ or Freudian Slips. Psychoanalytic Approach • Conscious – all things we are aware of at any given moment Psychoanalytic Approach • Preconscious – everything that can, with a little effort, be brought into consciousness Psychoanalytic Approach • Unconscious – inaccessible warehouse of anxiety- producing thoughts and drives The Psychodynamic Perspective: The Id, Ego, and Superego Psychoanalytic Divisions of the Mind • Id—instinctual drives present at birth – does not distinguish between reality and fantasy – operates according to the pleasure principle • Ego—develops out of the id in infancy – understands reality and logic – mediator between id and superego • Superego – internalization of society’s & parental moral standards – One’s conscience; focuses on what the person ―should‖ do – Develops around ages 5-6. – Partially unconscious – Can be harshly punitive using feelings of guilt Freud’s Concept of the ―Id‖ • The part of personality that consists of unconscious energy from basic aggressive and sexual drives • Operates on the ―pleasure principle‖ - the id demands immediate gratification • Is present from birth Id: The Pleasure Principle • Pleasure principle—drive toward immediate gratification, most fundamental human motive • Sources of energy – Eros—life instinct, perpetuates life – Thanatos—death instinct, aggression, self- destructive actions • Libido—sexual energy or motivation Freud’s Concept of the ―Ego‖ • The part of personality that mediates the demands of the id without going against the restraints of the superego • Follows the reality principle Ego: The Reality Principle • Reality principle—ability to postpone gratification in accordance with demands of reality • Ego—rational, organized, logical, mediator to demands of reality • Can repress desires that cannot be met in an acceptable manner The Personality Id: “I want” Superego: “I should” Ego: “I will” Psychoanalytic Approach Rational, Information planful, in your mediating Conscious immediate dimension Ego awareness of personality Superego Preconscious Information which can Moralistic, easily be judgmental, made Unconscious conscious perfectionist dimension of personality Id Thoughts, feelings, urges, and other Irrational, information illogical, that is difficult impulsive to bring to dimension of conscious personality awareness The Psychodynamic Perspective: Freud’s Psychosexual Stages Psychosexual Stages • In Freudian theory, the childhood stages of development during which the id’s pleasure seeking energies are focused on different parts of the body • The stages include: oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital • A person can become ―fixated‖ or stuck at a stage and as an adult attempt to achieve pleasure as in ways that are equivalent to how it was achieved in these stages Oral Stage (birth – 1 year) • Mouth is associated with sexual pleasure • Pleasure comes from chewing, biting, and sucking. • Weaning a child can lead to fixation if not handled correctly • Fixation can lead to oral activities in adulthood Freud’s Stages of Development Anal Stage (1 – 3 years) • Gratification comes from bowel and bladders functions. • Toilet training can lead to fixation if not handled correctly • Fixation can lead to anal retentive or expulsive behaviors in adulthood Freud’s Stages of Development Phallic Stage (3 – 5 years) • Focus of pleasure shifts to the genitals • Sexual attraction for opposite sex parent • Boys cope with incestuous feelings toward their mother and rival feelings toward their dad (Oedipus conflict). For girls it is called the Electra Complex. •Child identifies with and tries to mimic the same sex parent to learn gender identity. Oedipus Complex • Boys feel hostility and jealousy towards their fathers but knows their father is more powerful. This leads to… • Castration Anxiety results in boys who feel their father will punish them by castrating them. • Resolve this through Identification – imitating and internalizing one’s father’s values, attitudes and mannerisms. • The fact that only the father can have sexual relations with the mother becomes internalized in the boy as taboo against incest in the boy’s superego. Electra Complex • Girls also have incestuous feelings for their dad and compete with their mother. • Penis Envy – Little girl suffer from deprivation and loss and blames her mother for ―sending her into the world insufficiently equipped‖ causing her to resent her mother • In an attempt to take her mother’s place she eventually indentifies with her mother • Fixation can lead to excessive masculinity in males and the need for attention or domination in females Freud’s Stages of Development Latency Stage (5 – puberty) • Sexuality is repressed due to intense anxiety caused by Oedipus complex • Children participate in hobbies, school, and same-sex friendships that strengthen their sexual identity Freud’s Stages of Development Genital Stage (puberty on) • Incestuous sexual feelings re-emerge but being prohibited by the superego are redirected toward others who resemble the person’s opposite sex parent. • Healthy adults find pleasure in love and work, fixated adults have their energy tied up in earlier stages Freud’s Stages of Development Defense Mechanisms Unconscious Self-Deceptions Defense Mechanisms • Unconscious mental processes employed by the ego to reduce anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality. Repression • Puts anxiety-producing thoughts, feelings, and memories into the unconscious mind • The basis for all other defense mechanisms Denial • Lets an anxious person refuse to admit that something unpleasant is happening Regression • Allows an anxious person to retreat to a more comfortable, infantile stage of life Reaction Formation • Replacing an unacceptable wish with its opposite Projection • Reducing anxiety by attributing unacceptable impulses or problems about yourself to someone else Rationalization • Displaces real, anxiety-provoking explanations with more comforting justifications for one’s actions • Reasoning away anxiety-producing thoughts Displacement • Shifts an unacceptable impulse toward a more acceptable or less threatening object or person Sublimation • A form of displacement in which sexual urges are channeled into nonsexual activities that are valued by society Undoing • Unconsciously neutralizing an anxiety causing action by doing a second action that undoes the first.
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