Sigmund Freud's Theories Of Personality
- Topics: Sigmund Freud
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Freud was born on may 6th 1856, Freiberg, Moravia to Hasidic Jewish parents. The family moved to Leipzig and then settled in Vienna, where Freud was educated. He was proved an outstanding student, excelling in languages, and English literature.
At the age of 17, Freud joined the medical facility at the University of Vienna to study a range of subjects, such as philosophy, physiology and zoology. He graduated in 1881 and began working at the Vienna General hospital. He worked in various different departments, such as the psychiatric clinic and also combines medical practise with research work. In 1873 he began to study medicine at the university of Vienna. He qualified as a doctor of medicine. Upon completing his habilitation in 1885, he was appointed a docent in neuropathology and became an affiliated professor in 1902.
He lived and worked in Vienna, having set up his clinical practise there in 1886, specialising in nervous disorders. His approach was to encourage patients to share their innermost thoughts and feelings. In 1938 Freud left Austria to escape the Nazis
Sigmund Freud developed a collection of theories which have formed the basis of the psychodynamic approach to psychology. The psychodynamic approach includes all the theories in psychology that see human functioning based upon the interaction of drives and forces within a person, particularly unconscious, and between the different structures of the personality.
Freud believes that personality develops from our efforts to resolve the conflict between our biological urges and our internalized, socialized reactions to these
Psyche: Freud describes the personality structure as the interaction of three systems:
Defence mechanisms: they are psychological strategies that are unconsciously used to protect a person from anxiety arising from unacceptable thoughts or feelings. They are used to protect ourselves from feelings of anxiety or guilt, which arise because we feel threatened, or because our id or superego becomes too demanding. They operate at an unconscious level and help ward off unpleasant feelings or make good things feel better for an individual.
Freud proposed that psychological development in childhood takes place during I’ve psychosexual stages:
Each stage represents the fixation of libido on a different area of the body. As a person grows physically certain areas of their body become important as sources of potential frustration, pleasure or both.
Psychosocial development: Erik Erikson’s 8 stages of psychosocial development maintained that personality develops in a predetermined order through eight stages of psychosocial development, from infancy to adulthood. During each stage, the person experiences a psychosocial crisis which could have a positive or negative outcome for personality development. Successful completion of each stage results in a healthy personality and the acquisition of basic virtues.
Our behaviours and feelings are powerfully affected by unconscious motives: the unconscious mind embodies mental processes that are inaccessible to consciousness but that influence judgements, feelings, or behaviours. According to Freud the unconscious mind is the primary source of human behaviour. Like an iceberg, the most important part of the mind is the part you cannot see. Our feelings, motives, and decisions are actually powerfully influenced by our past experiences and stored in the unconscious.
Our behaviour and feelings as adults [including psychological problems] are rooted in our childhood experiences: psychodynamic theory states that events in our childhood have a great influence on our adult lives, shaping our personality. Events that occur in childhood can remain in the unconscious, and cause problems as adults.
All behaviours have a cause [usually unconscious]: Therefore, all behaviour is determined: psychodynamic theory is strongly determinist as it views our behaviour as caused entirely by unconscious factors over which we have no control. Unconscious thoughts and feelings can be transferred to the conscious mind from the form of revealing what is really on our mind by saying something we didn’t mean to. Slips of the tongue provided an insight into the unconscious mind.
Personality is made up of three parts: the id, ego and super-ego: the id is the primitive and instinctive component of personality. It consists of all the inherited components of personality present at birth. The ego develops in order to mediate between the unrealistic id and the external real world. It is the decision-making component of personality. The super ego incorporates the values and morals of society which are learned from one’s parents and others.
Parts of the unconscious mind, the id and super ego, are in constant conflict with the conscious part of the mind, the ego. This conflict creates anxiety, which could be dealt with by the ego’s use of defence mechanisms.
Freud is most associated with psychoanalysis and the psychodynamic model; however, he actually first got his idea for his model from an advisor he had worked under, his first-year adviser, Ernst Von Brücke. It is Freud that took the idea and further developed it into a full model. Freud greatly admired Brücke and quickly became indoctrinated by this new dynamic physiology.
He based many parts of his model on actual patients he was working with, which is challenging because the population tended to be wealthy, white women, who were having psychological problems.
Freuds psychoanalysis was the original psychodynamic theory but the psychodynamic approach as a whole include all theories that were based on his ideas:
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