Strengths of Murray's model

Below are three renowed psychoanalytic therorists. According to Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), there are three parts of the personality – id, ego, and superego; and five stages of psychosexual development. Id is inherited and is present at birth. It refers to the raw nature of biological processes, giving psychic energy and pleasure to the individual who wants immediate satisfaction. Ego is the conscious rational part of personality. It emerges in early infancy to ensure that the id’s desires are satisfied in accord with reality.

Superego originates from the child’s understanding of the adult world, contains the values of society and is often in conflict with the id’s desires. Once superego is formed, ego is faced with reconciling demands of the id, the external world and conscience. The five stages of psychosexual development are the oral stage (birth to 1 year), the anal stage (1-3years), the phallic stage (3-6 years), the latency stage (6-11 years) and the genital stage (adolescence).

A child who may not obtain satisfaction through a particular stage may direct their psychic energy towards SS101-TMA05 Marisa Lee 93512450 11 September 2000 Pg 5/12 achieving culturally acceptable activities.

Freud called this sublimation. An example would be the unpleasant memories of a child, John, being humilated by classmates because of a weak body, were suppressed into the unconscious. The unconscious force, being re-interpreted by the conscious, became a stimulant to the child’s aim to become a doctor. Personality was motivated by the psychic energy, libido, to achieve goals. Development of personality was influenced by the manner in which the child learned to expend libido, sex energy, in the series of early childhood stages, from birth to adolescence.

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Strong experiences encountered in early childhood were the keys to understand their behaviour in adult life, which might further influence their choice of work and career. Personality problems that went unresolved would be repressed and became unconscious, determining people’s behaviour. Man could therefore be unconscious of his true motives. Under Freud’s theory, man was irrational. An example would be John, instead of aiming to be a doctor, became an introvert. Freud believed that all actions are determined, nothing is due to chance.

In clinical tests, unpleasant memories hidden in the unconscious can be brought out and banished in the conscious by skilfully asking patients about their dreams, and unconscious behaviour can be reasoned / explained. Strength of Freud’s psychoanalytic theory was that it provided a new, fresh and stimulating point-of-view of psychoanalysis and inspired a wealth of research on many aspects of emotional and social development in the study of child development. SS101-TMA05 Marisa Lee 93512450 11 September 2000 Pg 6/12 Weaknesses were psychoanalytic theorists were strongly committed to clinical approach that they failed to consider other methods.

Freud’s theory overemphasized the influence of sexual feelings in development. Some aspects of his theory were not applicable to cultures other than the 19th century Victorian society. There was the question of accuracy of the source of data as Freud did not directly observe, test or measure children during their years of growth. Validity of the retrospective interview as the source of evidence is questioned as there was no way to prove. Henry A. Murray (1938) extended Freud’s psychoanalytic theory explaining the many facets of the psychology of personality.

Murray put forward that a person’s actions were the outcome of the interaction between needs and the environmental press. There were two types of needs, biological and psychological, both of which were innate. Biological needs arose from physical nature, giving mental satisfaction, and were under partial control of the mind. Psychological needs arose from psychological nature, giving mental or emotional satisfaction. Environmental press included environment, social groups and institutions. This represented outside forces which could be negative or positive. Murray also included Freud’s id, ego and superego; conscious and unconscious.

Methodologies adopted in testing and measuring personality included SS101-TMA05 Marisa Lee 93512450 11 September 2000 Pg 7/12 laboratory techniques, observation, questionnaires, asking people to write autobiographies, describe their childhood experiences, doing handwriting tests, and doing the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). Answers to TAT could reflect participant’s own personal dreams, wishes and worries, and could thus uncover the basic ‘themes’ that recur in the unconscious. When comparing Murray with Freud, they both agreed in some way that all behaviour is determined.

Murray however did not agree with Freud on reducing psychic life to a few fundamental forces. Murray recognized more psychological needs whereas Freud reduced all phenomena to a function of the force of libido. Moreover, Murray saw needs as occur in groups. People’s actions cannot be explained by single need in isolation. There was a more detailed analysis of biological factors by Murray, giving rise to a more explicit explanation on the nature and nurture issue; inborn and environmental forces. Methodologies employed by Murray include laboratory and clinical tests while Freud used mainly clinical experiences.

Strengths of Murray’s model of study are that it covers a more comprehensive range of factors than Freud. Murray based his results on a variety of laboratory and clinical tests while Freud used mainly clinical methods, validity and accuracy of which were difficult to verify. Weaknesses of Murray’s model are that psychological needs differ widely according to different genetic endowment, and the environmental press varies geographically, for example, from north to south. The extent that the experiments can make sense of people’s behaviour and actions is acknowledged with reservation.

SS101-TMA05 Marisa Lee 93512450 11 September 2000 Pg 8/12 George Kelly offered an alternative view in personality. His assumption was that each person had the same need to understand, to predict and to control the world. The approach emphasized that the ways which individuals construct the phenomenal world, the world around us and the people in it are attributable to personality. Behaviour was shaped by these constructs, also known as phenomenal fields, so individuals knew how to react to incoming information in an orderly way. But the constructs themselves were capable of change and adaptation.

If expectations were wrong, individuals would restructure phenomenal fields to give sense and act differently accordingly. The strength of Kelly’s model over that of Freud, Marray and Skinner’s is that the model is reflexive. This model explained behaviour of the author making it universally acceptable and valid. Humanistic Image of Mankind Humanistic psychology is a study of mental life. The study assume that human behaviour is motivated primarily by the individuals seeking to fulfil a series of needs. Psychologists here treated individual as a whole person, who was unique and was motivated to achieve self-actualization.

Individual was conscious of his own experience. He had a capacity for self-awareness, the free will to choose, to initiate thoughts and actions, and was guided by purpose and meaning. The subconscious guide in the person automatically evaluated SS101-TMA05 Marisa Lee 93512450 11 September 2000 Pg 9/12 experience to tell whether he was actualizing. In adverse situations, the fully functioning person learned to adjust to maintain the human functions. Each person had the need for positive regard, to have the love, friendship, and affection of others.

He would change his actions to conform to a condition of worth in order to get positive regard from others. When the ideal self was incongruent with the actual self, the real self would feel threatening and find ways to defend. Humanistic psychology was created not as a child psychology. Its development was mainly to help adults achieve better personal and social adjustment, so as to achieve greater self-actualization. Two distinctive figures in humanistic psychology is Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchical theory of human motivation.

The theory asserted that when certain basic needs were provided for, higher motives toward self-actualization could emerge. Maslow’s pyramid of needs in ascending order from the lowest order is as below. Physiological needs : for air, food, drink for survival. Safety needs : for security and stability including need for structure, law and limits. Belongingness and love needs : for family, friends, lover. Esteem needs : for self-respect, self-esteem and esteem for others. Self-actualization need : for realizing one’s potential for development. SS101-TMA05 Marisa Lee 93512450 11 September 2000 Pg 10/12

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Strengths of Murray's model. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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