- Published: January 7, 2022
- Updated: January 7, 2022
- University / College: University of Colorado Boulder
- Level: Masters Degree
- Language: English
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Running head: PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY Psychoanalytic Theory College The psychoanalytic theory refers to the definition of personality organization and the underlying dynamics of personality development used to guide psychoanalysis. Generally a method of investigating and treating personality disorders is used in psychotherapy. This theory believes that human behavior is influenced by both childhood experiences and the unconscious. Human beings are described to have aggressive forces. It believes that human behavior is deterministic. Irrational forces, the unconscious, instincts and biological drives, influence it. The theory emphasizes the importance of childhood experiences and addresses the importance of the unconscious, sexual and aggressive drives that make up the human personality. It explains that personality development spreads out across an individual’s lifespan. It is majorly attributed to childhood experiences and the unconscious (Mitchell, 2014).
It believes that the mind is made up two parts: the unconscious mind and the conscious mind. The unconscious mind always prompts one to make certain decisions even though they are not conscious. The unconscious the part of the mind where one is not aware. It is the unconscious that brings to light the feelings, emotions and the thoughts of an individual. Techniques like dream analysis, free association and hypnosis help in understanding the unconscious. Personality development is based on psychosexual stages. The conflicts, which occur during these psychosexual stages, have a lifelong effect on the personality and behavior of an individual. it contributes to the way they later function as adults (Fenichel, 2014).
There are three forces of the psychical apparatus; the id, the ego and the superego. The id refers to the aspect of personality that is driven by internal drives and basic needs for example hunger, thirst and sexual desire. The id works in accordance to the principle of pleasure. It avoids pain and tries to seek pleasure. Since this force is instinctual, it is impulsive and totally unaware of the implications of its actions. The ego works in accordance to the reality principle. It works to achieve the id’s drive in the most realistic ways. It pleases the drives that will be of long term benefit to an individual. It separates what is real and realistic in our drives. It also helps in being realistic of the standards that superego sets in an individual. The superego is driven by the morality principle. It connects morality of higher thought and action. The superego works to act in socially acceptable ways instead of instincts. It employs morality to judge an individual’s sense of wrong and right and encourage social acceptability with the use of guilt.
Both Freud and Carl Jung came up with theories which have contributed to development of the psychoanalytic theory. Carl believed that most human behavior is traced to spiritual causes while Freud believed that the psychosexual motivated human behavior. According to Carl, it was from the soul that the drives of differentiation and integration sprouted, fuelling development. Mental illness arises when these processes are thwarted. He believes that collective unconscious, including the concept of archetypes and use of synchronicity in psychotherapy. Freud believed that psychosexual stages in childhood experiences influenced personality. While Freud emphasized on physical nature as the primal driving force, Carl looked at the spiritual nature, soul nature. In brief, the two contribute in the psychoanalytic theory in that personality is influenced by childhood experiences and the unconscious.
This theory has its advantages. It gives a deep perspective that explores the basis of psychopathology. The concept of repetition compulsion which is dominant in the theory is usually used in many other models as a basic concept. In addition, it focuses mainly on relationship by way of object relations. This theory also has a strong biological research which supports all its ideas. The concept of the unconscious also explains the behavior where we are not aware. The disadvantages include the fact that this theory confuses people rather than clarifying the concepts. Some of the ideas used in the theory are somehow outdated as per the contemporary world. They are not even clinically useful. Another demerit of this theory is the lack of focus on the technique, there is no enough intervention into the theory. Finally, it only captures a portion of the pie. It does not take into account considerations in the social, biological and cultural lines.
Mitchell, M., 2014. Object relations in psychoanalytic theory. 1st ed. Harvard University Press.
Fenichel, F., 2014. The psychoanalytic theory of neurosis. 1st ed.
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