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Discuss Freud's psychoanalytic theory and one post- Freudian theory (12 marks)

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Introduction

´╗┐Discuss Freud's psychoanalytic theory and one post- Freudian theory (12 marks) Freud proposed that there are three parts of the personality- id, ego and superego. The id is the unconscious, it works on the pleasure principle and is the source of our basic sexual and aggressive instincts. The ego is partially conscious, it works on the reality principle and must try to satisfy the cravings of the id within constraints of society. The superego works on the morality principle (i.e. our sense of right and wrong) and contains our ego-ideal and conscience. The personality develops over five psychosexual stages ? oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. At these different times the sexual energy is concentrated in different parts of the body (e.g. the mouth during the oral stage). When the area is stimulated it gives a pleasurable feeling. At each stage there?s a crisis to be overcome so that the person can move on to the next stage. If the crisis isn?t resolved, they will become ?fixated? and develop a different type of personality. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, although Freud?s theories have vast explanatory power, they are unscientific. For example, the unconscious mind is not directly observable and therefore can?t be objectively measured. This means that Freud?s theories are unfalsifiable. This contrasts with the behaviourist approach, which is based on objective observable behaviour and theories which are testable and enable predictions to be made bout behaviour. Erikson is another psychodynamic theorist who agreed with Freud over the structure of the personality in terms of id, ego and superego, and the existence of strong instinctual forces. Both also saw development as occurring in stages however Erikson proposed that our interactions with others are the most important influence on our development. One of the main elements of Erikson?s psychological stage theory is the development of the ego identity. This is the sense of self that we develop through social interaction. Each stage in Erikson?s theory is concerned with becoming competent in an area of life. If the stage is handled well, the person will feel a sense of mastery (ego strength). ...read more.

Conclusion

Failure to resolve the crisis means that the ego lacks the strength associated with any one stage. One important difference between Erikson and Freud is that Erikson focuses on relationships with people (psychosocial stages) whilst Freud?s main concern is with unconscious effects of the sex instinct (psychosexual stages). Thus, where Freud described biological psychosexual stages of development, Erikson emphasised the social forces that influence development. This makes Erikson?s theory a much more positive and optimistic view of the human condition than Freud?s view of humans being locked in perpetual conflict. Finally, Erikson?s claim that the eight psychosexual stages of development are applicable universally to people in different societies is open to some doubt. The validity of the crisis described at each stage, and the agreement about what constitutes a desirable outcome, may depend heavily upon the norms and values of a particular culture (Booth, 1975). For example, stage 4 ?industry vs inferiority ?, may apply only in cultures like ours, that emphasise competition and that frown upon children who don?t succeed on particular skills at a given time. ...read more.

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