Freud & Psychoanalysis


Personality Theory


- storehouse of biologically based motives and instinctual reactions for satisfying motives

-unlearned biologically based motives major motives/instinctual drives: sexual and destructive urges energy of these is libido

-left to itself Id would satisfy motives without regard to life or morals



-learned instrumental acts to satisfy motives

-elaborate ways of dealing with world-it delays satisfaction of motives

-channels motives into socially acceptable outlets -keeps one working getting along with others and adjusting to realities

-the ego works in the service of the reality principle



-socially derived motives that affect and conflict with the first two

-corresponds to conscience -restraints acquired in course of personality development on activity of ego and id

-the superego would condemn as wrong certain things which ego would do in order to satisfy the id's motives

-superego keeps person working towards the ideals

-ego ideals acquired in childhood

There is no clear line separating the 3. When libido blocked by ego/superego energy may be displaced to seek out acceptable outlet

ID in conflict causes anxiety which triggers defence mechanisms


Freud's Stages of Development

Pregenital Stages:




Latency stage

Genital Stage-- puberty Person can become fixated at any stage if person experiences frustration anxiety, insecurity



-1st year infant receives pleasure from sucking and other activities with the mouth - if infant is prevented from sucking or made anxious child could develop oral fixation-later in life this could lead to excessive oral behaviour-->greed, dependence, passivity, smoking, chewing pencil end, sucking thumb

ANAL STAGE -2-3 years child focuses interests on anal activity (toilet training and suppressing naughty behaviour connected with excretion) -if training too strict---> anxieties and anal syndrome- compulsiveness, excessive conformity /self control

PHALLIC STAGE --after toilet training focus on sex organs-romantic feeling to opposite sex-- Oedipus complex, Electra complex -threat of castration by father---> anxiety results in normal identification with threat

LATENCY -6--->puberty-elaboration and strengthening of defence mechanisms to protect individual

GENITAL- puberty-instead of interest in self focuses on others


Problems with Freud's Theory

-based on anecdotal information -based on clinical impressions not careful measurement -patients were all rich Viennese women

For more information about Freud see The Freud Page or A Guide to Freud


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copyright 2003Karen E.Hamilton