The founder of Psychoanalysis was Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis focuses on how personality develops and Psychoanalysts argue that peoples personalities are determined by EVENTS in childhood. The way in which the child handles these EVENTS which happen during childhood will directly affect their future personality.

Freud argues that these EVENTS are actually conflicts, these conflicts are between biological drives such as aggression and sex.

The Structure of Personality - According to Freud

Id - The primitive, instinctive, unconscious part of personality. This part of personality demands immediate satisfaction(the need to behave in unacceptable ways) and is governed by the Pleasure Principle.

Ego - The conscious, intellectual part of personality. The Ego regulates the Id. The Ego is governed by the reality principle(the need to behave in acceptable ways)

Super Ego - The ethical and moral component of personality. This is normally learnt from others i.e. Parents. The Super Ego is basically your conscience.

Freud's Psychosexual Stages of Development

Oral Stage (12-18 months old)

Pleasure(sexual) is gained basically from the mouth , first through sucking then biting (Any disturbance of this may result in permanent fixation on the oral channel for gratification and may be responsible for Smoking, Overeating, thumb-sucking, pencil chewing. Your personality may develop to be impatient, greedy and dependent)


Anal Stage (18 months - 3 years old)

Most sexual pleasure detaches itself from the mouth and it concentrates itself on the anus. The child experiences erotic gratification from withholding(disobedience) and expelling(compliance) faeces. Therefore frustration and conflict may arise over toilet training (Any disturbance of this may result in permanent fixation in the anal channel for gratification and may be responsible for the following -- People who enjoyed withholding faeces Stinginess, Punctuality and Possessiveness. -- People who enjoyed enjoyed expelling faeces Hot Tempers, untidiness and destructiveness.

Phallic Stage (3 years to 5 years old)

Around the age of three, children's interest focuses on their genitalia and their opposite sex parent.

Boy - Desires mother, wants to take his father's place. His father is now his rival, but he feels the loss of his love(conflict here). The boy is now aware of physical differences between boys and girls and he fears that his penis will be cut off - Castration Anxiety (as has the girls he believes) because of his desires for his mother. To alleviate this Castration Anxiety the boy abandons his striving to posses his mother and increases his identification with his father wanting to be like him rather than replacing him.

Girl - Resents Mother's place in her father's affections and her mother's shared deficit(lack of penis). The girl may develop neurotic sexual inhibitions or may display more masculine behaviour. She develops a desire to have her fathers baby (a boy) to make up the deficiency she lacks i.e. a penis (electra complex)

If the boy or the girl fail to pass through this stage successfully it may result in Homosexuality, authority problems and rejection of appropriate gender roles.

Latency Stage (5 years - Puberty)

Upto the age of puberty little development takes place

Genital Stage (Puberty - Onwards)

The goal of normal development is mature heterosexuality.

Psychoanalytic Therapy

This involves resolving conflicts which took place during the stages of development.

Methods of therapy :

Free Association - The therapist introduces a topic and allows the client to say anything that comes into their mind

Analysis of Dreams - The expression of the innermost workings of the mind, particularly repressed desires.

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