Psychosexual stages Freud’s ideas about the development of personality and its formation. Innately determined stages through which we all pass and strongly shape the nature of our personality.
Libido and Fixation Terms to know Libido refers to the forces, mostly pleasure oriented, that energises the personality, particularly the id. Release of libido is closely related to pleasure, but the focus and expression changes as we develop. In each stage, we obtain different kinds of pleasure and leave behind a small amount of our libido. If an excessive amount of libido energy is tied to a particular stage, however, fixation occurs.
Fixation Can stem from too little or too much gratification during the particular stage. Because too much ‘psychic energy’ is left behind, less is available for full adult development. Outcome = adult personality reflecting the stage/s at which fixation has occurred.
ORAL STAGE In the first stage – ORAL (0-18 months) we seek pleasure mainly through the mouth. Too little gratification = a personality that is overly dependent on others Too much gratification = an excessively hostile personality, particularly with verbal attacks
ANAL STAGE Roughly 2-3 years Toilet training conflicts Freud argued that these conflicts form the basis of attitudes towards order and disorder, giving and withholding, and messiness and cleaniness. People with anal fixations exhibit a variety of behavioural tendencies:Anal expulsive – the child who rebels openly against going in the toilet. Translates in the adult as a person who sees messiness as a statement of personal control and somewhat destructive/hostileAnal retentive – the child who is terrified of making a mess and rebels passively. As adults, stubborn, excessively neat.
PHALIC STAGE 3-6yrs Shifts to genitals. Freud believed the penis was the focus for both boys AND girls. For boys, when they realise that girls do not have a penis, would think that the penis can be lost or cut off = castration anxiety For girls, they would feel that they were missing something important and could not be complete without it = penis envy Conflict in this stage is the feeling of sexual awakening. Freud believed boys develop both sexual attraction AND jealousy of their fathers during this stage = Oedipus Complex.
Oedipus Complex Sexual attraction more of sexual curiousity that becomes mixed up with the boy’s feelings of love and affection for his mother. Jealousy of the father = anxiety and fears that his father may castrate him. To deal, the boy will repress his sexual feelings for his mother and identify (defence mechanism) with his father. If a child does not have a same-sex parent to identify with, or the sexual attraction is encouraged, fixation occurs. Fixation = immature sexual attitudes as an adult, exhibit promiscuous sexual behaviour, “mummy’s boy”.
Latency Stage Remember that by the end of the phallic stage, sexual feelings are repressed. From age 6 – puberty, children will remain in the latency stage. In this stage, children grow and develop intellectually, physically and socially but not sexually. Boys play with boys, girls with girls.
Genital Stage Repressed sexual feelings can no longer be ignored. Parents are no longer targets.