These are two quotes from two very famous people of all time. They define the ways of a child in two similar yet conflicting aspects. They both tried to explain why children behave in ways that they do however, on different perspectives. One explained that it is because of the “id” inside waiting to be satisfied. The other one reasoned out that we undergo stages in life wherein there are needs that has to be resolved. The real essence of these quotes is not on understanding what they meant but on how it was concluded this way. Perhaps there are explanations underlying such individual principles.
The Science of Psychology deals with the study of behavior and the human mind (www.psychologymatters.org/psycdefinition.html). It is a broad field that encompasses questions about feelings, thoughts and actions (www.a2zpsychology.com). Its history can be traced back to ancient philosophical and religious times approximately about 125 years ago (www3.ntu.edu.sg).
Psychology is composed of a large field from how humans think to the environments in which humans and other animals develop from child to adulthood. Psychologists try to study relationships between the brain and behavior, and between the environment and behavior (www.psychologymatters.org/psydefinition.html).
They consistently look for patterns that will help them understand the behaviors of individuals. Such studies will help humans achieve their full potentials as individuals on to a larger scale of communities and nations (www.a2zpsychology.com). Similarly, psychologists also use behavioral patterns as “raw data” to study the workings of the mind. Since they cannot dissect a live brain and identify patterns, everything one do, say and think are all controlled by the mind (http://www.bbc.co.uk).
The research findings of psychologists have helped many people across countries to function better as individuals, friends, family members and workers (www.a2zpsychology.com). Two of the popular psychologists the world has ever produced are Erik Erikson and Sigmund Freud. Their theories and ideas contributed much to the study of Human Psychology and its development making them institutional pillars in this area.
Sigmund Freud is Austrian psychiatrist and founder of psychoanalysis. He was born in Freiburg, Moravia, Austria Hungary (now Czech Republic). His family moved to Vienna during the 1860s where he studied medicine at the University of Vienna (www.kirjasto.com.sci.fi/freud.htm). Sigmund Freud was a very bright student.
He was involved in researches concentrating on neurophysiology. With the help of his mentor Ernst Brucke, he was given a study grant in Paris where he spent time on learning and using hypnosis and hysterics. He then went back to Vienna to marry his fiancée Martha Bernays and practice his expertise in the field of neuropsychiatry with the help of his friend Joseph Breuer. He migrated to England at the time when Vienna was no longer a safe place for Jews to live. He died of mouth and jaw cancer that he suffered for the last 20 years of his life. Freud’s books and lectures brought him fame and at the same time, made him an outcast in the medical world (Boeree 2006).
On the other hand, Erik Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany from a Danish father and a Jewish mother. After graduating high school, he focused on becoming an artist. He didn’t like the environment of formal schooling (Sharkey 1997) that when not attending art classes, he wandered around Europe, visiting museums, and lived a “carefree life”.
When Erik was 25 years old, a friend invited him to apply for a teaching position at an experimental school for American students administered by Dorothy Burlingham which, ironically, is Anna Freud’s friend. This is also where he met his wife Joan. Aside from teaching he also finished a degree in Montessori education and a certificate from Vienna Psychoanalytic Society (Boeree 2006). In 1933, he came to America and became Boston’s first child analyst and taught at Harvard Medical School (Sharkey 1997).
He also taught at Yale University and University of California at Berkeley. At 1950, professors were asked to sign “loyalty oaths”. He did otherwise and was forced to leave Berkeley and went to Massachusetts where he continued his teaching and writing in a clinic. Erik went back to Harvard until his retirement in 1970 (Gaedler 2006). He died peacefully in his sleep in 1994 at the ripe age of 91 (Boeree 2006).
Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson are both psychoanalysts. Psychoanalysis basically focuses on the unconscious aspects of personality. Freud explained that the human mind is just like an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg is the conscious level which could be seen (Rana 1997). It is what one is aware of at a particular moment which includes present perceptions, thoughts, fantasies, and feelings. Working closely with conscious level is the preconscious or the “available memory.”
These are things you are not thinking at the moment but can readily bring to mind (Boeree 2006). The rest of the iceberg is the unconscious in which most of it is kept mysteriously hidden and that the person is completely unaware (Rana 1997). It is where a person’s drives, instincts, memories and emotions associated with trauma originated (Boeree 2006).
The tip of the iceberg is the conscious level which could be seen (Rana 1997). It is what one is aware of at a particular moment which includes present perceptions, thoughts, fantasies, and feelings. Working closely with conscious level is the preconscious or the “available memory.” These are things you are not thinking at the moment but can readily bring to mind (Boeree 2006). Freud also hypothesized that it is in the unconscious part where the recollection of painful past is kept and the infantile desires are hidden (Kodat 2002).
Freud further theorized, which Erikson also agreed, that the mind is made of constructs – id, ego and superego. The id operates mainly for pleasure purposes and needs gratification (Rana 1997). This is also the inherited part of the personality. Reality however prevents the id’s instant demands (Kodat 2002). The ego is the buffer between the id and the realities.
It makes decisions, think of how to better deal with the problem and controls action. It also controls learning and intelligence (Robbins 1999). The superego has two subparts – conscience and the ego-ideal. The former tells right from wrong while the later motivates a person to do what is morally proper (Kodat 2002). Both the id and the superego are unrealistic. Freud’s idea is that all persons have certain conflicts among the three parts of the mind (www.a2zpsychology.com).
Another concept that Freud and Erikson believe is the Oedipal and Electra crisis. Because of libido, the child’s genitals take charge which leads to a desire of the child for the parent of the opposite sex and feeling of competitiveness to the same sex (Robbins 1999). For example, a boy develops feeling of jealousy to his father because he thinks that his father is a competitor to his mother’s attention. Furthermore, this boy has feelings of fear that his father might find out what he feels (fear of castration). Since the feeling is repressed, the boy begins to act and develop ways similar to that of his father thus also adapting his values (Rana 1997).
Girls, on the other hand, experiences “penis envy.” She notices the difference between boys and girls and feels inferior. She then wants a penis substitute such as baby. However in order to have a baby, she will need a male. So the young girl sets her sights on her dad. Since dad is already taken, she displaces to other boys or men and identifies herself like her mom who got the man she wanted (Boeree 2006).
Freud firmly believes that all human behaviors are motivated by the desires that are instinctive by nature and are related to the physical needs. The motivational energy is “libido” which means “I desire”. Freud’s clinical experience led to him to conclude that sex is the most important dynamic of the psyche. However he clarified those sexual needs not only pertains to mating but all pleasurable sensation of some areas in the skin later called erogenous zones. He noted that different parts of our skin give us the greatest pleasure during different stages of our lives. (Boeree 2006). Freud then formulated the Psychosexual Stage Theory (Robbins 1999).
Even if Erikson supported the ideas of Freud including the Oedipal crisis, he still believed that aside from drives, other important dimensions contribute to human development. While Freud concentrated on the Psychosexual aspect, Erikson is more socially and culturally oriented (Boeree 2003). He placed more emphasis on the influence of the environment and that ego exists from birth. He believed human development is determined by the interaction of the body, mind and cultural influences.
Two themes governed his philosophy: 1. The world gets bigger as we go along and 2. Failure is cumulative. For example, if a child was deprived of physical manifestations of care such as hug or kiss, she/he will have a hard time getting physically connected to others as he/she becomes an adult. However, there is always the chance that these deficits could be overcome (Harder 2002). Erikson’s theory is called the Psychosocial Stage Theory.
Perhaps one of the greatest innovations by Erik Erikson is that he refined and expanded Freud’s theory. For Freud, humans undergo 5 stages of psychosexual development motivated by sex (Felluga 2004). These stages include the Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latency and Genitality stages (Chapman 2008). During the Oral stage, the mouth and the lips are the erogenous zones (Felluga 2004). Activities such as sucking and biting are the most favorite things that babies do (Boeree 2006).
The infants’ attachment to their mothers ultimately will affect the unconscious mind which will affect their behaviors and “sexually powered drives.” (Chapman 2008) The Anal stage last from 18 months to about 3-4 years old wherein the anus is the focus of pleasure (Boeree 2006) This stage has a lot to do with pleasure and control.
Body expulsions are the center of their world and this is where the character is formed (Felluga 2004). Next to the anal stage is the phallic stage wherein the child begins to be aware of his or her sexual genitalia and resolve their reproductive issues. This is also the time when Oeudipus Complex and Electra Crisis normally takes place. Experiences in these stages will have an effect on how the person handles his/her “libido” in the later life (Felluga 2004).
The Anal Stage usually happens when the child reach 3-6 years old (Chapman 2008). The Latency Stage is also called the period of rest because the sexual needs are suspended (Chapman 2008) in exchange for the child’s focus on learning and schoolwork (Boeree 2006). As a result, the child’s feelings are repressed and sublimated.
The child also begins to free themselves from their parents, asserts independence and begins to know how to love others sacrificing their egoistic self (Chapman 2008). The last stage in the psychosexual development is the genital stage which occurs at puberty until adulthood. The man’s desires, sexual thoughts and feelings resurfaced because of sudden physical and hormonal changes that he/she undergoes (Boeree 2006). Dating or fondling is the top priority and school is brushed aside. The person now focuses on procreating to ensure the survival of the human species (Chapman 2008).
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