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Psychoanalytic Theory

Personality According to
Sigmund Freud

Salima Barkat Ali


An individual’s unique and relatively

consistent patterns of thinking,
feeling, and behaving
Personality Theory

Attempt to describe and explain

how people are similar, how
they are different, and why
every individual is unique
Sigmund Freud (1856-
 Founder of psychoanalysis
 Proposed the first complete theory of
 A person’s thoughts and behaviors emerge
from tension generated by unconscious
motives and unresolved childhood conflicts.

Learn more about Freud at:

Psychoanalytic Approach
Developed by Sigmund Freud
Psychoanalysis is both an approach to
therapy and a theory of personality
Emphasizes unconscious motivation –
the main causes of behavior lie buried
in the unconscious mind
Conscious Mind

All the thoughts, feelings, and

sensations that you are aware of at this
particular moment represent the
conscious level
Preconscious Mind

 A region of the mind holding information that is not

conscious but is easily retrievable into conscious
 Holds thoughts and memories not in one’s current
awareness but can easily be retrieved (childhood
memories, phone number)
Unconscious Mind
 A region of the mind that includes unacceptable
thoughts, wishes, feelings, and memories
 Not aware of these thoughts, wishes, etc… but they
exert great influence over our conscious thoughts &
 Freud felt that dreams were “The royal road to the
unconsciousness” – behind the surface image
(manifest content) lied the true hidden meaning
(latent content).
 Can also surface as “slips of the tongue” or Freudian
Psychoanalytic Approach
 Conscious – all
things we are
aware of
at any given
Psychoanalytic Approach

 Preconscious –
everything that can,
with a little effort,
be brought into
Psychoanalytic Approach

 Unconscious –
warehouse of
thoughts and drives
The Psychodynamic
The Id, Ego, and
Divisions of the Mind
 Id—instinctual drives present at birth
 does not distinguish between reality and fantasy
 operates according to the pleasure principle
 Ego—develops out of the id in infancy
 understands reality and logic
 mediator between id and superego
 Superego
 internalization of society’s & parental moral
 One’s conscience; focuses on what the person “should” do
 Develops around ages 5-6.
 Partially unconscious
 Can be harshly punitive using feelings of guilt
Freud’s Concept of the “Id”

The part of personality that consists

of unconscious energy from basic
aggressive and sexual drives
Operates on the “pleasure
principle” - the id demands
immediate gratification
Is present from birth

 The Shoulds & Should Nots of Society

 Your Conscience
 Moralistic, judgmental, Perfectionist dimension of
Freud’s Concept of the “Ego”

 The part of personality that mediates the demands of

the id without going against the restraints of the
 Rational, organized, logical, mediator to
demands of reality
 Reality principle—ability to postpone
gratification in accordance with demands of
 Can repress desires that cannot be met in an
acceptable manner
The Personality

Id: “I want”
Superego: “I should”
Ego: “I will”
Psychoanalytic Approach
Rational, Information
planful, in your
mediating Conscious immediate
dimension Ego awareness
of personality
Superego Preconscious Information
which can
Moralistic, easily be
judgmental, made
Unconscious conscious
dimension of
personality Id Thoughts,
urges, and other
Irrational, information
illogical, that is difficult
impulsive to bring to
dimension of conscious
personality awareness
Defense Mechanisms

Unconscious mental processes employed by

the ego to reduce anxiety by unconsciously
distorting reality.
Defense mechanisms Its basic Nature Example
Denial Denial is an outright refusal to Drug addicts or alcoholics
admit or recognize that often deny that they have a
something has occurred or is problem, while victims of
currently occurring traumatic events may deny
that the event ever occurred.
Repression Repression acts to keep A person who has repressed
information out of conscious memories of abuse suffered as
awareness. However, these a child may later have
memories don't just disappear; difficulty forming
they continue to influence our relationships.
Sometimes we consciously
force out the unwanted
information of our awareness,
which is known as
suppression. In most cases,
however, this removal of
anxiety-provoking memories
from our awareness is
believed to occur
Displacement Displacement involves taking Rather than express our anger
out our frustrations, feelings in ways that could lead to
and impulses on people or negative consequences (like
objects that are less arguing with our boss), we
threatening. instead express our anger
towards a person or object that
poses no threat (such as our
spouse, children or pets).
Sublimation Sublimation is a defense a person experiencing extreme
mechanism that allows us to anger might take up kick-
act out unacceptable impulses boxing as a means of venting
by converting these behaviors frustration
into a more acceptable form.
Freud believed that
sublimation was a sign of
maturity that allows people to
function normally in socially
acceptable ways.

Projection Projection is a defense If you have a strong dislike for

mechanism that involves someone, you might instead
taking our own unacceptable believe that he or she does not
qualities or feelings and like you.
ascribing them to other
Intellectualization Intellectualization works to A person who has just been
reduce anxiety by thinking diagnosed with a terminal
about events in a cold, clinical illness might focus on learning
way. This defense mechanism everything about the disease in
allows us to avoid thinking order to avoid distress and
about the stressful, emotional remain distant from the reality
aspect of the situation and of the situation.
instead focus only on the
intellectual component.
Rationalization Rationalization is a defense A person who is turned down
mechanism that involves for a date might rationalize the
explaining an unacceptable situation by saying they were
behavior or feeling in a not attracted to the other
rational or logical manner, person anyway, or a student
avoiding the true reasons for might blame a poor exam
the behavior. Rationalization score on the instructor rather
not only prevents anxiety, it than his or her lack of
may also protect self-esteem preparation.
and self-concept. When
confronted by success or
failure, people tend to attribute
achievement to their own
qualities and skills while
failures are blamed on other
people or outside forces

Regression Regression is when confronted Anna Freud called this defense

by stressful events, people regression mechanism
sometimes abandon coping suggesting that people act out
strategies and revert to behaviors from the stage of
patterns of behavior used psychosexual development in
earlier in development. which they are fixated. For
example, an individual fixated
at an earlier developmental
stage might cry upon hearing
unpleasant news.

Reaction formation Reaction formation reduces An example of reaction

anxiety by taking up the formation would be treating
opposite feeling, impulse or someone you strongly dislike
behavior.. in an excessively friendly
manner in order to hide your
true feelings
Psychosexual Stages
 In Freudian theory, the childhood stages of
development during which the id’s pleasure
seeking energies are focused on different parts
of the body
 The stages include: oral, anal, phallic, latency,
and genital
 A person can become “fixated” or stuck at a
stage and as an adult attempt to achieve
pleasure as in ways that are equivalent to how
it was achieved in these stages
Oral Stage (birth – 18 mo.)

 Mouth is associated with sexual

Pleasure comes from chewing, biting,
and sucking.
 Preventing a child can lead to fixation if
not handled correctly
Fixation can lead to oral activities
in adulthood
Anal Stage (1 – 3 years)

Gratification comes from bowel and

bladders functions.
Toilet training can lead to fixation if
not handled correctly
Fixation can lead to anal retentive
or expulsive behaviors in adulthood
Phallic Stage (3 – 6 years)
 Focus of pleasure shifts to the genitals
 Sexual attraction for opposite sex parent
 Boys cope with incestuous feelings toward
their mother and rival feelings toward their
dad (Oedipus Complex). For girls it is
called the Electra Complex.
•Child identifies with and
tries to mimic the same sex
parent to learn gender
Oedipus Complex

 Boys feel hostility and jealousy towards their

fathers but knows their father is more powerful.
This leads to…
 Resolve this through Identification – imitating and
internalizing one’s father’s values, attitudes and
mannerisms. (Formation of gender identity &
Electra Complex
 Girls also have incestuous feelings for their
dad and compete with their mother.
 Penis Envy – Little girl suffer from deprivation
and loss and blames her mother for “sending
her into the world insufficiently equipped”
causing her to resent her mother
 In an attempt to take her mother’s place she
eventually indentifies with her mother
 Fixation can lead to excessive masculinity in
males and the need for attention or
domination in females
Latency Stage (5 – puberty)
 Sexuality is repressed (Latent means
“hidden”) due to intense anxiety caused
by Oedipus complex
 Children participate in hobbies, school,
and same-sex friendships that strengthen
their sexual identity
Genital Stage (puberty on)
 Incestuous sexual feelings re-emerge
but being prohibited by the superego
are redirected toward others who
resemble the person’s opposite sex
 Healthy adults find pleasure in love and
work, fixated adults have their energy
tied up in earlier stages
Psychoanalysis as a Therapy

A therapeutic technique that

attempts to provide insight into
one’s thoughts and actions
Does so by exposing and
interpreting the underlying
unconscious motives and conflicts
Free Association
 Freudian technique of exploring the
unconscious mind by having the
person relax and say whatever
comes to mind no matter how trivial
or embarrassing
 Hypnosis – Relaxing a person into a
highly suggestive state to uncover
unconscious memories or conflicts

The Couch

12th chap of book-

Introduction to Psychology
by Robert. A Baron, pg #
Thank you