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Psychoanalytic Theory Essay

Sigmund Freud has been one of the most prominent personalities in the field of psychology. He has contributed numerous theories in this particular field that are being studied and used even up to the present time. The most notable among his works are the personality theory, psychosexual stages of development, and defense mechanism. According to Sigmund Freud, personality is made up of three elements that he elaborated in his theory of personality. These elements are the id, the ego, and the superego, which collaborates together in order to form complex behaviors of human beings (Van Wagner, 2005).

The id is an element of an individual’s personality that exists since birth. This component of personality is characterized by primitive behaviors that operate unconsciously through the person’s involuntary instincts. Id operates under the pleasure principle, which functions for the immediate satisfaction of needs and desires. The id is the cause of psychic energy and thus, it is considered as the main aspect of human personality (Van Wagner, 2005). The ego is the element of personality that focuses on reality.

Ego is developed from the id, which makes sure that the primitive behaviors coming from the id can be shown in social acceptable behaviors that coincide with the real world. This operates under the reality principle because it sees to it that the instincts coming from the id is regulated so that it would be appropriate in the real world (Van Wagner, 2005). The superego is the last element of the personality theory to develop. This is the aspect of the personality theory that holds the moral values and standards of an individual.

Superego represents the morals a person acquires from his/her parents and the society. This is also known as a person’s sense of right and wrong (Van Wagner, 2005). Freud believes that to be able to comprehend the adult behavior of a person, it is necessary to analyze his/her experience as a child. Due to this the psychosexual stages of development was created (Queen, 2001). The psychosexual stages are composed of the oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital stages.

The oral stage takes place from birth to 18 months. It is linked with linked with the desire to “incorporate” objects in the mouth. This is followed by the anal stage that happen from 18 months to three years. The anal stage is when the child takes pleasure in defecation wherein his/her anus is considered as an erotogenic zone (“Freud’s Psychosexual Stages of Development”, 2004). Next, is the phallic stage where the individual moves satisfaction from the anus to the genitals at the age of three to seven.

It is referred to as the phallic stage because as Freud argues it is the male organ which is important in this stage. Furthermore, the individual takes on the latent period where sexual concerns are still considered but this is in accordance with the society he/she moves in which occurs from seven to twelve years of age. Lastly, the genital period, which occurs from twelve years to adulthood and is the time when attraction towards the opposite sex is developed.

As stages are completed the person could balance different aspects of life (Quigley, 1998). There are eight defense mechanisms that are proposed by Freud. These are sublimation, repression, denial, projection, reaction formation, isolation, regression, and defense against effect (Hentschel et al. , 2004). The discussions made above concerns the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud. More specifically the parts of personality, the psychosexual stages of development, and defense mechanisms were presented.


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