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Assess the merits and limitations of the ideas Sigmund Freud

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Introduction

Selina Mehmi Assess the merits and limitations of the ideas Sigmund Freud Freud's ideas came from his belief in the psychodynamic approach. the psychodynamic approach - the belief that there is an inner active mind that interprets events and therefore forms personality, 1"...human motivation is based on biologically-based innate drives..." He developed his theory from studies of hysteria - this was understood to be physical symptoms without a cause. Freud found that talking to patients would relieve these symptoms, and he came to the conclusion that there is more than just the physical, there is an internal force (the mind) which determines behaviour. One of his patients which he studied in this area was Anna O. When her father died she developed physical symptoms for which no cause could be found and therefore it was diagnosed as hysteria. This patient influenced Freud's theories. In this essay I will discuss Freud's psychodynamic theory of personality, the psychosexual stages of development, the positive aspects of the theory and the limitations of the theory. I will also include a personal opinion of the theory as a conclusion. 2According to Freud there are three elements of the mind which develop when a child passes through each stage of development. These are the Id, Ego and Superego. We also have a libido which is an internal energy. The libido helps form personality through experiences and motivates us to survive. The Id is the element that develops first; we are already born with this. It is also known as the pleasure principle because it always wants to be satisfied. ...read more.

Middle

5The Electra complex starts when the girl realises she doesn't have a penis and thinks she has been castrated. She begins to experience penis envy and blames the mother for her not having a penis because she believes the mother has allowed this to happen to her. Eventually the girl replaces the desire for a penis with the wish to have a baby and the love object in this situation is the father because the girl believes he will give her a baby. During the time these accounts were written there was greater emphasis on boys as girls were seen as irrelevant, therefore the Electra complex is not as clear. Freud stated that that at the end of the Electra complex the girl has to give up the father as a love object and go back to the mother so that she can identify with her. But the reason for the girl identifying with the mother is less clear than the boys' reason for identifying with the father. As this process of identification develops the superego, Freud believed that the stronger the reason/motive for identification, the stronger the identification, therefore a better developed superego. According to Freud boys had a stronger reason to identify with the father, therefore girls have less developed superegos. After discussing Freud's theory we can see that there is a lot to come to terms with. Freud's theory had a huge impact and was very influential, but was also strongly criticised. Our first opinion may be that the theory is a bit bizarre; the ideas seem too "incredible" to believe. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although I find the theory hard to believe because of lack of concrete evidence, I don't see this as a limitation of the theory but actually see it as a positive point, because it leaves the ideas open to further research and thought. I also see it as a positive point because it leaves an individual's mind open to personal interpretation of the theory. Every individual will have a different understanding of it because of our own different life experiences; therefore we can all apply it to different situations and contexts. It leaves us with the puzzle of wanting to explore our minds further in order to understand ourselves and our behaviour, as this is said to be the biggest mystery to everyone - understanding our own mind and behaviour. 1 Glassman, W. (2000), Approaches to Psychology, Open University Press, Buckingham 2 Gross. R, Mcilveen. R, Cooligan. H, Clamp. A, Russell. J, 2000, Psychology, A New Introduction For A-Level, Greengate publishing, Kent. 3 Gross. R, Mcilveen. R, Cooligan. H, Clamp. A, Russell. J, 2000, Psychology, A New Introduction For A-Level, Greengate publishing, Kent 4 Gross. R, Mcilveen. R, Cooligan. H, Clamp. A, Russell. J, 2000, Psychology, A New Introduction For A-Level, Greengate publishing, Kent 5 Gross. R, Mcilveen. R, Cooligan. H, Clamp. A, Russell. J, 2000, Psychology, A New Introduction For A-Level, Greengate publishing, Kent 6 http://www.time.com/time/time100/scientist/profile/freud02.html 7 Glassman, W. (2000), Approaches to Psychology, Open University Press, Buckingham 8 Gross. R, Mcilveen. R, Cooligan. H, Clamp. A, Russell. J, 2000, Psychology, A New Introduction For A-Level, Greengate publishing, Kent 9 http://www.ship.edu/~cgboeree/freud.html 10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud 11 Gross. R, Mcilveen. R, Cooligan. H, Clamp. A, Russell. J, 2000, Psychology, A New Introduction For A-Level, Greengate publishing, Kent ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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