Psychoanalytical Theory Of Personality

Freud created a method he named Psychoanalysis and used it to the treatment of mental illnesses in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Observing his patients helped him develop his psychoanalytic theories.
Psychoanalytic theory holds that personalities develop as a result of efforts to settle conflicts between societal pressures to tame unconscious sexual and violent urges and these impulses’ need to express themselves. This personality theory is the most well-known, complete, and extensively researched. Three books containing Freud’s ideas were released. His theory’s key concepts include the following:

The Organisation Structure of Personality :

  • Id: A source of innate energy that houses biological compulsions including the drive to survive, have sex, and be aggressive. The unconscious id functions in accordance with the pleasure principle, or the desire to pursue pleasure and shun discomfort. Primary process thinking, which is illogical, irrational, and driven by a need for the immediate fulfilment of impulses, is what the id is known for.
  • Ego: The component that controls the conflict between the id and the restrictions of the actual world is known as the ego. Some ego portions are unconscious, while others are preconscious or conscious. The ego functions on the reality principle, which recognises that impulse fulfilment must be postponed in order to satisfy the needs of the actual world. Secondary process thinking, which is logical and reasonable, characterises the ego. The ego’s function is to keep the id from acting on its urges in socially unacceptable ways.
  • Superego: The moral component of personality is known as the superego. It encompasses all of the moral norms instilled in us by our parents and society. The superego makes the ego adhere not merely to reality, but also to its moral standards. As a result, the superego makes people feel terrible when they break society’s rules. The superego, like the ego, works at all three levels of awareness.

Freud felt that the id, ego, and superego were always at odds. He concentrated on conflicts involving sexual and violent desires since these desires are more prone to break society standards.

Psycho-Sexual Development

According to Freud, a child’s growth goes through a number of phases that are tied to physical development, and how crises are handled at each stage has an impact on an adult’s personality.

Each stage is given a name that refers to an erogenous zone, or part of the body that may enjoy the surroundings.

Any stage of excessive enjoyment or frustration can lead to fixation of libido and subsequent disturbance of typical personality development.

  • Oral stage (birth to 18 months): Infants in the oral stage (from birth to 18 months) are initially very reliant on their mothers and enjoy sucking and swallowing. Freud proposed that young children who develop oral fixations in adulthood find pleasure in things like overeating, smoking, drinking, and kissing. Such individuals were referred to as oral-incorporative or oral-ingestive by him. Children start cutting teeth later in the oral development period and enjoy biting and chewing. Fixation at this stage leads to adult item chewing and nail biting, as well as sarcasm and critical behaviour. These fixations were classified by Freud as oral-aggressive or oral-sadistic.
  • Anal stage (18 months to three years): At this stage pleasure is gained from the expulsion and retention of faces. At this stage, kids begin to explore their surroundings while still being under parental control and discipline. Freud claimed that during this stage of fixation, people may exhibit messy and giving anal expulsive characters or mean and orderly anal retentive characters.
  • Phallic stage (three to five years): Children begin to enjoy stroking their genitalia during the phallic period. They also realise that they are vying for their mother’s attention with their siblings and father. At this age, according to Freud, boys grow more connected to their mother and grow to dislike their father. These emotions cause worry, dread of the father’s retribution, or castration anxiety. Boys connect with their dads in an effort to ward off this fear. Because of its resemblance to the ancient Greek tragedy in which Oedipus unintentionally murders his father and marries his mother, Freud named boys’ longing for their mother the Oedipus complex.

Freud thought that girls go through a very different process. He thought that since they were born without a penis, females reject their mothers at the phallic stage. They subsequently grow more attracted to their father since he has a penis that they don’t. Until women conceive a male kid, symbolically gaining a penis, penis envy will not be alleviated. Additionally, this procedure bears the name of the ancient Greek play Electra. Greek mythology’s Electra was renowned for her love of her father and her desire for vengeance against her mother for his passing.

Fixation at the phallic phase and failure to resolve the Electra or Oedipus complex was viewed as the cause of sexual and/or relationship difficulties in later life.

  • Latency stage (six to twelve years): By the conclusion of the phallic stage, personality is developed, and during the latency phase, sexual desires are redirected into pursuits like sports, education, and social interactions.
  • Genital stage (13 years to adulthood): As teenagers get closer to being fertile, they start to direct their libido, or sexual energy, toward the other sex. If the person has successfully navigated the early psychosexual stages, they should now start to build healthy connections with other people.

Levels of Consciousness

According to Freud, the majority of mental processes are unconscious.

Using the terms conscious, preconscious, and unconscious, he suggested that there are three levels of awareness in humans. Below is a brief explanation of each level:

  • Conscious: Being conscious is the highest degree. All of the information that a person is paying attention to at any one time is stored in their conscious. This is the area of our brain processing that is open to reasonable thought and discussion. This includes our memories, which can readily be accessed at any moment and brought into consciousness even if it is not always a component of consciousness.
  • Preconscious: This mental region is responsible for everyday memory. Although we are not always cognizant of this knowledge, we have the ability to access it and bring it into consciousness when necessary.
  • Unconscious: This is a storehouse of emotions, ideas, compulsions, and memories that are hidden from our conscious awareness. The majority of the things that exist in the unconscious are inappropriate or unpleasant, such painful, anxious, or conflicting emotions. Although we are oblivious of these underlying effects, Freud claimed that the unconscious nonetheless has an impact on our behaviour and experiences.

These three mental layers were compared by Freud to an iceberg. The conscious mind is symbolised by the portion of the iceberg that is visible above the sea. The preconscious is like the section of the iceberg that is below the ocean yet still visible. The unconscious is represented by the portion of the iceberg that is hidden beneath the surface of the sea.