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									Psychoanalytic Theory

  Personality According to
      Sigmund Freud

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
• Humanistic—importance of self and
  fulfillment of potential
• Social cognitive—importance of beliefs
  about self
• Trait—description and measurement of
  personality differences
           Sigmund Freud
• 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:
    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
Freud’s View of the
              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
        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
          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
        Psychoanalytic Approach

• Preconscious –
  everything that
  can, with a
  little effort, be
  brought into
      Psychoanalytic Approach

• Unconscious –
  warehouse of
  thoughts and
The Psychodynamic
 The Id, Ego, and
      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
• Is present from birth
     Id: The Pleasure Principle
• Pleasure principle—drive toward immediate
  gratification, most fundamental human
• 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
• 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
dimension of
personality               Id                                    Thoughts,
                                                         urges, and other
Irrational,                                                   information
illogical,                                                 that is difficult
impulsive                                                      to bring to
dimension of                                                   conscious
personality                                                    awareness
 The Psychodynamic
Freud’s Psychosexual
          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
               Oedipus Complex
• Boys feel hostility and jealousy towards their fathers
  but knows their father is more powerful. This leads
• 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
• 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
• Puts anxiety-producing thoughts,
  feelings, and memories into the
  unconscious mind
• The basis for all other defense
• Lets an anxious person refuse to
  admit that something unpleasant is
• Allows an anxious person to retreat to
  a more comfortable, infantile stage of
       Reaction Formation

• Replacing an unacceptable wish
  with its opposite
• Reducing anxiety by attributing
  unacceptable impulses or problems
  about yourself to someone else
• Displaces real, anxiety-provoking
  explanations with more comforting
  justifications for one’s actions
• Reasoning away anxiety-producing
• Shifts an unacceptable impulse
  toward a more acceptable or less
  threatening object or person
• A form of displacement in which
  sexual urges are channeled into
  nonsexual activities that are valued
  by society
• Unconsciously neutralizing an anxiety
  causing action by doing a second action that
  undoes the first.

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