Psychodynamic Theories of Personality Sigmund Freud
What’s Ahead• In Freud’s theory of personality, why are the id and the superego always at was?• When people say you’re being “defensive” what defenses might they be thinking of?• How do psychologists regard Freud-today- as a genius or a fraud?• What would Carl Jung have had to say about Darth Vader?• What are the “objects” in the object- relations approach to personality?
• Personality-A distinctive pattern of behavior, mannerisms, thoughts, & emotions that characterizes an individual over time• Consists of many distinctive traits, habitual ways of behaving, thinking, & feeling• Examples: Shy, reliable, friendly, hostile, gloomy, confident, ambitious, etc
Freud & Psychoanalysis• Psychodynamic-Emphasis on unconscious intrapsychicdynamics, in the form of attachments, conflicts, & motivations• Unconscious processes within the mind• Belief in the importance of early childhood
• Belief that development occurs in fixed stages• Focus on fantasies and symbolic meanings of events –Unconscious motives, guilty secrets, unspeakable yearnings, & conflicts between desire & duty –The unconscious reveals itself in art, dreams, jokes, apparent accidents, & slips of the tongue• Reliance on subjective rather than objective methods
The Structure of Personality• 3 major systems• Any action we take or problem we have results from the interaction & degree of balance among these systems
• Id: Operates according to the pleasure principle –Present at birth –Primitive and unconscious part of personality –Reservoir of unconscious psychic energy & the motives to avoid pain & obtain pleasure• 2 competing instincts• Life or sexual instinct• Death or aggressive instinct
• Ego: Operates according to the reality principle –Mediates between id and superego –Represents reason & good sense• Superego: Moral ideals and conscience –Judges the activities of the id
Summary of Freud’s Model of the Mind Id Ego SuperegoWhat It Does Expresses sexual Mediates between desires of Represents conscience and aggressive the id and demands of the and the rules of instincts superego; uses defense society; follows mechanisms to ward off internalized moral unconscious anxiety standardsHow conscious it is Entirely Partly conscious, partly Partly conscious, unconscious unconscious mostly unconsciousWhen it develops Present at birth Emerges after birth, with Last system to develop; early formative experiences becomes internalized after the phallic (oedipal) stageExample “I’m so mad I Might make a conscious “Thou shalt not kill” could kill you” choice (“Let’s talk about (felt this” ) or resort to an unconsciously) unconscious defense mechanism, such as denial (“What, me angry? Never.”)
• If a person feels anxious or threatened when the wishes if the Id conflict with social roles, the ego has weapons to relieve the tension• Defense mechanisms deny or distort reality but also protect us from conflict & anxiety
Defense Mechanism• Repression: Threatening idea is blocked from consciousness –Unconscious expulsion of disturbing material from awareness & conscious suppression of such material• Projection: Unacceptable feelings are attributed to someone else
• Displacement: Directing emotions toward objects or people that aren’t the real target –When it serves a higher, socially useful purpose (art or inventing) it’s called sublimination• Reaction Formation: A feeling that produces anxiety is transformed into its opposite. –The professed feeling is excessive & the person is extravagant & compulsive about demonstrating it
• Regression: A person reverts to a previous phase of psychological development.• Denial: A person refuses to admit that something is unpleasant. –Protects a person’s self image & preserves the illusion of invulnerability
The Development of Personality• Stage 1: Oral Stage –Occurs during the first year of life when babies experience the world through their mouths –Adults seek oral gratification by smoking, overeating, nail biting, or chewing on pens
• Stage 2: Anal Stage (2-3) –When toilet training & control of bodily wastes are the key issues –May become “anal retentive” holding everything in, obsessive about neatness & cleanliness or “anal expulsive” messy & disorganized
• Stage 3: Phallic (Oedipal) Stage (3-5) –Most important to formation of person –Child unconsciously wishes to possess the parent of the other sex & to get rid of the parent of the same sex Freud believed that –Oedipus Complex during the oedipal stage, little boys fantasize about marrying their mothers and regard their fathers as rivals.
• Boys are discovering the pleasure & pride of having a penis, seeing a girl he gets worried & starts to identify with his father• Girls don’t have the motivation to give up the oedipal feelings leading to “penis envy”• By 5 or 6 personality is fundamentally formed –Unconscious conflicts with parents, unresolved fixating, guilt & attitudes towards the same & opposite sex will continue to replay themselves throughout life
Jungian Theory• Carl Jung• Freud’s closest friend until a quarrel over the nature of the unconscious –Includes the concepts of the collective unconscious (the universal memories of the species) and archetypes (universal symbolic images in myths, art, and dreams).
Archetypes Examples• The Mother: feeding, soothing and nurturing.• The Self: spiritual connection to the universe• The Shadow: dark, unknown and mysterious part• The Child: birth and beginnings• The Trickster: deceiving In The Wizard of• The Scarecrow: outcast Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West• The Hero: rescuer, champion is a beloved example of the archteype of evil.
• 2 most important archetypes are maleness & femaleness –Problems can arise if a person tries to repress their internal opposite archetypes• People are motivated not only by past conflicts, but also by future goals & their desire to fulfill themselves• Introversion/extroversion
The Object Relations School• Emphasizes the importance of the infant’s first two years of life and the baby’s formative relationships, especially with the mother.• The central problem in life is to find a balance between the need for independence & the need for others
• Requires constant adjustment to separations & losses• The way we react to these separations is largely determined by our experiences in the first year or two.
Evaluating Psychodynamic Theories• All share a general belief that to understand personality we must explore its unconscious dynamics & origins• Failings –violate the principle of falsifiability• Impossible to disconfirm unconscious motives
• Drawing universal principles from the experiences of a few atypical patients.• Basing theories upon the retrospective accounts and fallible memories of patients. –Creates an illusion of causality between events
Today• Psychologists are testing psychodynamic ideas empirically• Identified nonconscious processes in thought, memory, & behavior & found evidence for many defense mechanisms• Research confirms the psychodynamic idea that we are often unaware of the motives behind our actions
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