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

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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. We are born with an id but the ego only emerges during the anal stage of development as a result of potty training (the crisis at that stage). The superego develops around the age of five as a result of successfully overcoming the crisis in the phallic stage (the Oedipus complex for boys or the Electra complex for girls).

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Freud provided supporting evidence for his theories through the use of case studies. He illustrated the concept of castration anxiety using the case study of little Hans – explaining Hans’ fear of horses and being bitten being by one as a displaced fear of castration by his father. However, you cannot generalise the results of one case study to all children. The accuracy of Freud’s assessment is also questionable. He was selective in the information that he used; for example, he omitted to include the fact that Hans’ mother had threatened Hans’ with castration. In fact, Freud did not work ...

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