Analysis around Freuds view of the human mind

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Analysis around Freud’s view of the human mind

This essay aims to discuss the key ideas behind Freud's theories, including his model of the mind, psychosexual development, repression and cure through therapeutic techniques. Sigman Freud (1856 to 1939) was an Austrian physician, with an interest in the workings of the subconscious mind. “Freud spent his life trying to produce coherent a set of theories to explain all human behavioural, but never achieved his goal of one grand theory, (Benson, 1999, P48).

According to Freud, the mind has three levels of consciousness. The conscious equates to 1/7th of the mind, being ‘the awareness we have when awake.’ The pre-conscious, is a boundary containing memories of dreams, and causing slips of the tongue. Finally, the unconscious. Making up 6/7ths of the mind and containing ‘thoughts completely hidden and unavailable to us,’ (Benson, 1999, P47).

Freud’s model divides the mind in to three parts: the Id, Ego and Superego. He believed that the first to develop was the Id, operating on the pleasure principle, in the unconscious mind. The Id ‘is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality,’ (Freud, 1933 p27). It drives a baby to seek pleasure, like ‘drink food warmth and comfort and avoid the unpleasureable, like hunger, being wet and cold… The Id is selfish and ‘not concerned with social rules, but only with self gratification,’ (Cardwell et al, 1997 p549). The Id is made of two components. Benson (1999, P51) describes the first, Libido, as ‘the inborn energy we have that motivates us to survive.’ The second component, Freud named Thanatos, and described as the death instinct, expressed through aggression towards self and others. Cardwell et al (1997) explain that the Id’s discharge of energy and excitation without regard for consequence is known as primary process thinking.

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At around two years old the human mind recognises the need to be realistic and plan for the future, rather than surviving on primary instinct. Thus the ego develops. Operating on the reality principle, it battles the Id for control of behaviour. Unlike the Id, the Ego has a partly conscious, secondary thought process. ‘The ego is still, however, essentially selfish, i.e. protecting the individual from harm,’ (Benson, 1999, p51).

At around 3, we start to absorb influence from our parents and the Super Ego begins to develop. The Super Ego expands from our learned morals ...

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