slips of the tongue ,
Id, Ego, & Superego
This body of ideas was developed by an Austrian
Physician named Sigmund Freud
who came up with many theories and
possible explanations as to how the mind works
For those who don’t know .
When it comes to psychoanalysis,
it can be described as a way to uncover the
content of ones unconscious thoughts
by using an analytic way
to decipher information from the patient.
Then providing them with
insight or resolution through interpretation.
• Psychoanalysis developed in Vienna in the 1890s.
• Sigmund Freud was interested in finding an effective treatment for patients with neurotic or
• He became aware that there were certain mental processes that were unconscious and needed to
be further studied and interpreted in hopes of discovering a cure.
• Freud began by using hypnotism on his patients.
• This is where a person gets put into a different state of consciousness where suggestibility and
honesty are prevalent.
It was a predominately female complex
that was believed to have come because a woman’s womb
was unattached, thus allowing it to move around the body
making them do “crazy” things. It was decided that because there
were no physical symptoms, it must be from a nonphysical,
mental cause and was listed under hysteria.
• This was a revolutionary step towards the development of what is now known as psychoanalysis.
Parapraxis (slips of the tongue)
• Freud believed that everyone has repressed desires and often they can slip out.
These slips of the tongue are known as parapraxis or as the Freudian slip.
These occur in many different ways,
such as calling your wife the wrong name,
or reading a word incorrectly because
of certain fixations we have in our minds.
• These slips are semi-conscious because they are consciously repressed and then
• This is a good example of how Freud can interpret what your internal desires are
by noting what you are focusing on. Although every persons mind is different, in
order to understand ones psychological functioning and behavior, Freud had to
develop his own scientific method approach.
• He wanted to map out the human mind like a geological map.
• He wanted to find ways to prove his theories were correct. These theories that are
worth mentioning have been called many names, but are known mainly as the
seduction theory, topographic theory, and the structural theory.
• Freud first came up with the seduction theory in hopes to explain hysterical
symptoms. In his explanations he suggested that family members were
responsible for the pathology in children. Basically if a child was to depart
or deviate from a normal condition, it was at the fault of the parents.
• Many of his patients under hypnosis admitted to remembering incidents of being
sexually seduced in their childhood. Freud believed that because of these
memories, that his patients were actually abused while they were young and now
these memories are repressed. A repressed thought is one of which a person
forgets on purpose as sort of a self defense mechanism.
• Those thoughts that are most repressed will be the most distorted. He learned
that many of his patients had sexual problems and suspected their
issues were because of sexual desires or fantasies that had to be
repressed due to their culture or due to civilization in general.
• With the discovery of these unexpressed sexual desires, he found that they felt
relief when reliving the experience. This was a type of catharsis or emotional
cleansing for them. Basically the patients were becoming conscious of these
repressed thoughts and thus, making them feel a lot better. However, this was not
a way to explain all incidents of hysteria.
Topographic theory 1900s
• With this theory he claimed that there were two processes of the human mind;
– an unconscious primary process of symbolic thoughts,
– and a conscious second process of logical thoughts
Around this time he had just discovered that dreams indeed did have a symbolic significance and were
specific to each dreamer.
Their function would be to “protect sleep” and they were used as a
substitute for the thought-process.
He came to decide that dreams are a sort of wish fulfillment.
During the dream process, you would be in a state of regression, a state of your infantile mind and a thought
or fulfillment takes place of an intensity felt wish of the previous day.
Freud interpreted dreams by separating them into two categories;
Manifest dream content and Latent dream thoughts.
He would analyze how you explain the content of your thoughts
and the process of how you got to that explanation.
Many would be surprised to know that even when dreams appear to be so clear,
behind the obvious wish fulfillment, some other meaning could be concealed.
Freud describes this as dream-displacement. It is a process where your brain takes the
dream-context (connection between dream content and dream thought) and conceals the
true meaning because your brain assumes that the most distinct element in the manifest
dream is the most important one.
Freud would use external, internal, and unconscious thoughts when interpreting the dreams of
So not only the dream itself could be interpreted, but how you tell the story of your dream and
• The next theory I feel the need to mention is known as the structural theory.
• of narcissism and how the certain depressions
This was after his discovery
of his patients could have been formed by one turning guilt
and anger on to themselves.
• During this time, Freud had become dissatisfied with considering sexual behavior
as the cause or motivation for the human behavior.
• He developed the suggested “dual drive theory” of sexuality and aggression.
• In Beyond the Pleasure Principle, he wanted to explain the basis for human
destructiveness. He explains here the pleasure, reality, and death principles.
• The pleasure principle is when a course taken by mental events is set into motion
by an un-pleasurable tension and of which’s outcome is to lower that tension-
thus searching for a way to avoid un-pleasure or produce pleasure. (Pleasure
being the release of certain tensions) “What decides the purpose of life is the
pleasure principle” –Freud.
• The reality principle is when one takes into consideration “reality”. Making sure
obtaining satisfaction is for the good. It sometime finds temporary satisfaction of
un-pleasure with the hopes of gaining a longtime indirect road to pleasure.
Structural theory continued
• Freud discovered that at the beginning of mental life, the struggle for
pleasure was far more intense than later, but not so unrestricted.
• This is where the Id, Ego, and Super Ego come into play.
• Freud tried describing the human mind by it having many layers.
• The id being the bottom most layer, it being full of chaos, it always gets
what it wants. For example, if it wants to eat, it eats, if it wants to have
sex it has sex. He suggested that pleasure principle was located in the Id.
• However, above the Id is the Ego. The ego takes reality into prospective
(ie. reality principle). “How is this going to work out?” it is the rider of the
Id and rationalizes the “Id” intentions. The Ego is the part of the brain that
organizes the energy from the Id in ways of hopefully “getting things
done”. It controls the discharges of excitation, and decides what’s being
censored and what’s not.
• The Super Ego is the development of the Id. It over-sees all the layers of
the human mind. The Super Ego is the “ideal”, it is what the ego
compares itself to when making decisions. The ‘right and wrong’ factor
varied for each of his patients because it can change based on culture or
certain family situations. It is also known as the “seat of morality”.
• Freud developed many theories trying to explain the reasons for
the behavior of human mind.
• He thought of the brain as mechanical and wanted to solve it.
• He felt that there were a lot of things people thought they were
aware they knew, however what was going on in their mind was
• Although every case was different, he developed a way to analyze
patient’s symptoms. He had hopes of being able to explain and
interpret their problems to them in ways they could understand.
• He wanted to create a possible resolution for their behaviors and he
approached finding these means of explanation in many ways. With
many theories, he found possible explanations as to how the mind
works. One could say that Psychoanalysis was Freud’s scientific
Freudian psychological reality begins with the world, full of objects.
Among them is a very special object, the organism.
The organism is special in that it acts to survive and reproduce,
It is guided to those ends by needs –
being those of:
• the avoidance of pain,
• and sex.
• an individual's id follows the pleasure principle and rules
early life, but, as one matures, one learns the need to
endure pain and defer gratification, because of obstacles of
• In Freud's words, “an ego thus educated has become reasonable; it no longer lets
itself be governed by the pleasure principle, but obeys the reality principle, which also at
bottom seeks to obtain pleasure, but pleasure which is assured through taking account of
reality, even though it is pleasure postponed and diminished”
• For example: life in general, if it was up to our id, we would not got to
work everyday, we would wake up, do whatever we want to whenever
we want to. In order for society to survive, we have to endure “pain”. We
have to wake up and go to work so that we can feel safe by providing a
house to shelter us and a lock to the door. We have to go to work so
that we can know that when we call the 1-800 number, there will be
someone there to help us, when we are in trouble, we will be saved by
a police officer. If all police officers decided to not endure the pain of
waking up and not defer gratification of a paycheck,
we might all be in trouble.
• When asked about Freud and his theories, many
people associate him with sexual desire, bad thoughts,
and everything negative in regards to raising families.
• Denial involves blocking external events from
awareness. If some situation is just too much to
handle, the person just refuses to experience it. As
you might imagine, this is a primitie and dangerous
• Many believe this type of negativity it is related to
denial. This can be described by Freud, but only those
who believe in his studies and theories would take
“denial” as an explanation for simply not believing his
• I was once reading while my five year old daughter was watching a
cartoon (The Smurfs, I think). She was, as was her habit, quite close
to the television, when a commercial came on. Apparently, no-one
at the television station was paying much attention, because this
was a commercial for a horror movie, complete with bloody knife,
hockey mask, and screams of terror. Now I wasn't able to save my
child from this horror, so I did what any good psychologist father
would do: I talked about it. I said to her "Boy, that was a scary
commercial, wasn't it?" She said "Huh?" I said "That commercial...it
sure was scary wasn't it?" She said "What commercial?" I said "The
commercial that was just on, with the blood and the mask and the
screaming...!" She had apparently shut out the whole thing.Since
then, I've noticed little kids sort of glazing over when confronted by
things they'd rather not be confronted by. I've also seen people
faint at autopsies, people deny the reality of the death of a loved
one, and students fail to pick up their test results. That's denial.
Extra… facts, ideas.
The use of free association was intended to help discover notions that a patient had developed, initially,
at a subconscious level, including:
▪ Transference - unwittingly transferring feelings about one person to become applied to another
▪ Projection – projecting internal feelings or motives as being ascribed, instead, to other things or
▪ Resistance - holding a mental block against remembering or accepting some events or ideas.
The mental conflicts were analyzed from the viewpoint that the patients,
initially, did not understand how such feelings were occurring at a
subconscious level, hidden inside their minds.
For example, some might not realize they were highly attracted to people
reminiscent of childhood friends or relatives, or they were accusing others
of doing, or thinking, what they secretly wished they themselves could
In addition, some people who think "Freud was wrong" might be
experiencing resistance to accepting their subconscious motives, such as
not accepting that their "soul mate" closely resembles someone else from