- Published: December 19, 2021
- Updated: December 19, 2021
- University / College: University of Cambridge
- Level: Undergraduate
- Language: English
- Downloads: 35
Personal ment: Freud’s Personality Theory The Theory Human personality has always intrigued psychologists and doctors, and a number of theoristshave tried to explain the manner in which human personality develops from infancy until adulthood. One of the better known theories of human personality and development was provided by Sigmund Freud based on his practice as a doctor in Vienna. According to Freud, human personality is made up of three components – the Id or the childlike impulsiveness, the Superego or the parent (moral) component and the Ego or the mediating component (McAdams, 2006). According to Freud, the ego works to provide the individual with the objects that are desired by the id, but only when acceptable to the principles set by the superego and in a socially acceptable fashion (McAdams, 2006). His theory also discusses human development as occurring in five stages that start at birth and continue till adulthood. Each of these stages was associated different developmental periods starting from infancy, moving into toddlerhood which is followed by early and then later late childhood and cumulating in adolescence and adulthood (McAdams, 2006). If the individual is able to resolve the conflicts and challenges that are presented at each stage, they develop a healthy personality while if they are unable to do so, they may develop dysfunctional components to their personality (McAdams, 2006).
Freud’s theory is difficult to test, and so the existence of the components of personality or the influence of experiences at different stages is difficult to verify (McAdams, 2006). But it is possible to observe the presence of impulsivity in young children and the development of the use of morality and delayed gratification as they grow up and internalize the instructions of their parents. It is also observed that children who experience significant crises and conflicts in childhood show more psychopathology as adults (McAdams, 2006). Thus, the theory does find support from some areas of personality research. It is the opinion of this author that although the particular interactions between the Id, Ego and Superego are not easy to verify, the concepts as they are described by Freud do affect the way people make choices and in the way personality problems are manifested.
The description of the challenges faced by children as they grow are well explained by the Psychoanalytic theory with respect to their effect of personality, but this author does not agree with the classic metaphors used by Freud. Particularly, the author does not accept that premise that seems to be stated for issues like the Oedipal complex and the Electra complex. On the other hand, the author understands the sexual libido described by Freud in terms of a focus for the individual’s energy. In this context the suggestion that the libido is focused on different goals throughout life seems a valid idea.
In conclusion, it may be said that Freud’s theory of personality provides a number of valuable insights. There are certain weaknesses and concerns with the theory; but it does provide persuasive explanations for how personalities develop and how disorders may come to be. It is important to understand that Freud’s theory was proposed at a time when the understanding of fields like neuropsychology and genetics were not as well developed; and that the nature of the elements discussed makes it difficult to observe them objectively.
McAdams, D. (2006). The person: A new introduction to personality psychology. (4th ed.) Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.