THEORIES OF PERSONALITY AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
The different theories deal with the same basin issues but differ in their emphasis, in their theoretical
constructs and in their underlying hypotheses. No one theory can entirely and satisfactorily explain and
predict normal human behaviour and the many forms of abnormal behaviour encountered in clinical
practice. Many of the theories, however, have contributed valuable concepts and methods of
known as the founder of the humanistic school of psychology, which holds that
every person has an inherent potential for autonomous functions and growth.
Believed that a person’s only real guarantee of personal experience is a sense
Used the term traits to refer to the chief units of personal structure.
Describe maturity as having the capacity to relate to others with warmth and
intimacy and having and expanded sense of self.
Therapy is geared to helping patients realize the characteristics of mature
persons: humor, security, insight, enthusiasm and zest.
Founder of the third Viennese school of psychology.
LOGOTHERAPY: postulated a will to meaning – the goal of life is to find meaning and order in the
world of “me” personally and for “us” collectively.
Theory of behaviorism
Defined personality as a set of responses or behaviors.
Harry Stack Sullivan
Described three modes of experience and thinking about the world.
1. Prototaxic mode – undifferentiated thought that cannot separate
wholes into parts or use symbols; present in infants and in patients wth
2. Parataxic mode – places temporal or serial connections but not logical
relationship between events.
3. Syntaxic mode – the logical, rational and most mature type of cognitive
Personality is seen as the self-system and is the outgrowth of interpersonal
Therapy requires the active participation of the therapist who is known as the
participant observer and focuses on the modes of experience (especially the
He believed that even the most psychopathic patient can be reached through
human relationship of psychotherapy.
Best known for his creative psychotherapeutic work with severely disturbed
First psychoanalyst in germany
He explained depression from a psychoanalytic perspective and elaborated on
Freud’s stages of psychosexual development.
He also linked the psychosexual stages specific syndromes.
Formed the second Viennese School of psychology whcich focused on the will to
He coined the term inferiority complex – to refer to a universal inborn sense of
inadequacy and weakness.
He termed masculine protest –the tendency to move from a passive(feminine)
role to an active (masculine) role.
He was one of the first developmental theorists to recognize the importance of
a child’s birth order or sibling position in character development.
Therapy is focused on encouragement, through which patients could overcome
feeling of inferiority.
OBJECT RELATIONS THEORISTS:
Suggested that infants are not primarily motivated by libido or aggression but by
an object seeking instinct.
He replaced the Freudian ideas of ego and id with the notion of dynamic
He also stressed that in addition to an object, an object relationship is
internalized during development.
Her theory of holistic psychology maintains that a person needs to be seen as a
unitary whole who influences, and is influenced by, the environment.
Personality is the result of interactions between the person and environment.
She proposed three separate concepts of self:
o Actual self (experience)
o Real self (person)
o Idealized self (ideal)
Therapy is aimed at self-realization by exploring distorting influences that
prevent the personality from growing.
Viewed the infant’s experience of “pleasure or unpleasure” as the core of the
early mother-infant relationship. Satisfactory experiences lead to good or
gratifying images and unsatisfactory ones lead to bad or frustrating images.
Development is based on the evolution of these self-image and object images.
Fixation refers to modes of object relatedness, not to mode gratification.
Worked with patients with borderline personality disorder. Placed great
emphasis on the splitting of the ego and the collaboration of good and bad self-
configurations and object-configuration.
Object relations not only constitute the building block of structure but also the
building blocks of drives. Hence, the dual instinct of libido and aggression arise
from object-directed affective states of love and hate.
Evolved a theory of internal object relations closely linked to drives. Postulated
that the ego undergoes splitting to deal with the terror of annihilation.
She viewed introjections and projection as the primary defensive operations in
the first month of life.
Thought the Freud’s concept of death instinct was central to understanding
aggression, sadism, hatred and other forms of “badness”.
Therapy: was instrumental in the development of child analysis that evolved
from an analytic play technique where children used toys and played in symbolic
fashion allowing analysts to interpret the play.
His theory of multiple self-organizations included a true self which develops in
the context of responsive holding environment provided by a good-enough
He also developed the notion of the “transitional object” (a pacifier, blanket or
teddy bear) that serves as a substitute for the mother during infants effort to
separate or become independent.
He viewed that transitional space in which it functions as the source of art,
creativity and religion.
EGO psychologists: Anna Freud and Erik Erikson
Eric Berne Wilhelm Reich
Frank Alexander Carl Rogers
Carl Gustay Jong John Bowlby