There are myriad theories of personality. In this context, the selected theory is Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. From a definitive perspective, this theory argues that human demeanor results from interactions amongst three imperative elements of the mind (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). These components include the id, ego and superego (Beystehner, 1998). The theory stipulates a great level of importance on how unconscious conflicts within these parts of the mind assist in shaping the behavior and even personality. Freud argues that personality will usually develop during childhood and is then shaped in a series of fives psychosexual stages also known as the psychosexual theory of development. The paper provides a detailed analysis of the principles of the theory, its impact on gender, culture and personality development.
The first principle is based on the three forces of physical apparatus that include the id, ego and superego. The Id possesses the quality of unconsciousness. All the elements that constitute it are inherited including the instincts (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). Further, the ego component possess a high quality of consciousness. It bears the responsibility of controlling the demands of the id, as well as, the instincts and links the id with the external environment or world. Finally, the superego has its demands being managed by the id component. It limits the levels of satisfaction and instead takes a representative position of other elements including the parents, teachers, friends and even role models within and outside one’s cultural and racial constructs (Beystehner, 1998).
As far as the second principle is concerned, Freud argues that the instincts can be considered to be the ultimate cause of all behavior. According to the theorist, the two major instincts constitute the Eros representing love and the other one is considered to be the destructive or death instinct. Usually, Eros central role is to facilitate unity in a relationship. However, the destructive instinct destroys meaning that the two instincts often contradict.
The third principle of this theory is that Freud argues that sexual life commences with the manifestation that reflects itself soon after birth. The four major segments as far as sexual development is concerned include the oral phase, the phallic phase, the sadistic-anal phase and finally the genital phase. Arguably, each amongst these phases is characterized by particular occurrences (Beystehner, 1998). First, in the oral phase, a person creates emphasis on satisfaction as far as the mouth is concerned. Hence, it is determined to be the first erotogenic zone. Secondly, in the sadistic-anal phase, satisfaction is sought through aggression, as well as, excretion. It is during the phallic phase that one enters the Oedipus phase. One fears their parents and castration especially in the case of the boy child and then plays around with the mother. The same case happens to the young girl who is afraid of the mother but plays around with the father. The genital phase shows that the sexual function is completed and full coordination is experienced (Beystehner, 1998).
The fourth principle is that the theorist determines the psychical processes to be either unconscious, conscious or preconscious. In the context of consciousness, one is aware of an idea but the idea remains briefly conscious. The unconscious idea is not accessible but could be after it is analyzed and troubleshot. The preconscious ideas are those that have a high feasibility of becoming conscious.
The final principle is affiliated with the hypothesis of the functionality of dreams’ roles and the interpretations of these dreams. The theorist argues that a state of sleep can be described as that moment of chaos and uproar where the unconscious thoughts affiliated with one’s id component tend to swizzle their way into a consciousness state.
In the context of gender, the theory discusses more of gender and culture. Through the Oedipus, Freud attempt to explain the behavior of the boy child and the girl child towards their parents. Most importantly, the theory stipulates that boys and girls have different tastes when it comes to selecting their first love (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). In the context of the boy child, there is a great level of repulsion between him and the father as he fears that the father might castrate him. Therefore, the boy tends to appreciate the embrace of the mother and makes her his first love. In the context of the girl child, they tend to embrace their fathers and make them their first love. Arguably, the girls feel threatened by their mothers. The Freudian theory continues to stipulate that the girls then have to learn to become like their mothers as they desire their fathers. The boys have to learn to be like their fathers as they desire their mothers. That becomes a sign of a normative heterosexual identity. The theory intends to teach the girls and boys that they are different from one another and that it is the opposite sides that are most likely expected to react. Accordingly, the outcome of this is that there is normal gender identity development, where heterosexual attraction is predefined.
As far as the differentiation between gender and culture are concerned, Freud talks little about culture. However, in the context of gender identity, the theory argues in support of a culture of opposite sex (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). That implies that the Freud’s culture is gender biased where it just acts in support of heterosexuals. However, as expected from any rational development theory that is expected to represent everyone even those who are transgendered.
The Freud’s theory establishes a very comprehensive and well organized explanation of the manner in which the personality of individuals develop. Particularly, the theory considered to elaborate the psychosexual development attempts to describe just how one’s personality developed over the course of childhood (Beystehner, 1998). In a bid to describe the process of development, the theory embraces a style of using stages of development. Each stage describes what happens at every stage. The theory uses very simplified concepts that the audience can understand especially in the context of how each stage is a prerequisite to the other. In a bid to elaborate how the theory provides a comprehensive outline of these stages.
The first stage is the oral stage. The theory stipulates further that this stage takes place between birth and one year of age. At this stage, the theory stipulates that the infant’s major source of interaction takes place via the mouth. That implies that sucking and rooting reflux are imperative to the infant. Usually, the mouth is considered to essential for activities such as eating and the infant will always find pleasure in sucking and tasting items (Larsen & Buss, 2008). Usually, the conflict that occurs at this stage is the weaning process where the child has to become less and less dependent from the caretakers.
The theory then takes the audience to the next and immediate stage. It is considered to be the anal stage. After the child acquires independence and mastery of the mouth functions, then he or she moves to the anal stage. Here, the child is aged between 1 and 3 years. The theorist here believe that the major focus of the libido was to control the bladder, as well as, the bowel movements (Beystehner, 1998). Usually, the main conflict at this age is associated with a child learning how to go to the toilet and even control the body related needs. Usually, Freud argues that a successful annals stage is dependent on how the parent handles it.
The third stage is that of phallic stage. Here, the child is aged between three and six year of age (Beystehner, 1998). The central focus at this stage is that of the genitals. The child manages to differentiate between female and male. That is when children either have a rivalry or cohesion with their parents. Usually, the Oedipus complex considers these feeling to be affiliated with gender. Hence, the girl child feels attracted to the father while the boy child feels attracted to the mother. Usually, the theory is a great advocate of heterosexuality. That way, the child manages to acquire the right identity with the same sex parent.
Then, the children move to the latent period which is considered as the stage of calm. The stage transpires between the ages of six years to puberty (Beystehner, 1998). Here, the children tend to learn and develop as far as social and communication skills, as well as, self-confidence are concerned. Hence, they start growing in relationships and addressing their interests. Then, these relationships facilitate their successful development to the genital stage. The genital stage takes place between puberty to death. Here, there is a strong sexual relationship between the persons of different sex. These stages describe a comprehensive development process from birth to death.
As stipulated in the previous section regarding the comprehensive explanation of personality development by the theory, a similar concept applies in the context of understanding the development of personality. The theory takes into consideration the factor of age as a determining factor of when a one is supposed to develop from one personality stage to the other. Besides age, the theory attempts to associate the development of personality to the environment within which the one grows in including the manner through which the parents assist in the development process. For instance, the theory provides that as a child grows, he or she grows and acquires new life skills and personalities. For instance, at the infant stage, the much of a child’s personality constitutes the id which is the unconscious personality of a person (Beystehner, 1998).
However, according to the theory, as the child grows, the personality of that child is expected to change. For instance, in the genitals stage that takes place when the child is aged 3-6 years, the child first develops the feeling of attraction to the persons of opposite sex represented by their parents (Larsen & Buss, 2008). However, this feeling is manifested in the latent period where they may be sexually inactive but have that attraction to engage in peer relationships. These peer relationships at times could feasibly change their motive at the genital stage where the children get intimate. Their sexual interests materialize meaning that they can now engage in sexual activities. These changes in a person are well described in the theory making it a relevant theory that one can refer to in an attempt to understand the growth of personality.
From a personal perspective, the Freud’s psychoanalysis theory makes sense to me as far as its validity and applicability is concerned. Particularly, the fact that the theory attempts to subdivide life into stages of development is rational and applicable. I have a set of case studies where I have experienced these changes and forms of behavior as stipulated in the theory. Despite the fact that there are some extra cases where children may be born with mental retardation, the theory applies to most others.
In the context of the theory adequately explaining all the aspects of personality, there is substantial evidence that the theory only elaborates all aspects belonging to persons in the mainstream society. In this case, mainstream persons are those whose sexual orientation and mental stability is not questionable. However, it fails to address the issue of homosexuality or being transgendered, it assumes that all persons are heterosexual and have a normal rate of adapting to the stages of development. Accordingly, it is in my opinion that I think that the theory should at least attempt to incorporate the alternative development of those children whose sexual orientation leads to an attraction to persons of the same sex. Research has proven that some children are born with an imbalance of hormones meaning that some have more feminine hormones yet they are male from a physical perspective.
The theory, however, has remained relevant over years despite the fact that technology has resulted in a change in some aspects including when children become sexually active. According to the theory, the children at the latent period are not sexually active (Sigmund Freud’s Theories, 2013). However, in the contemporary era, children have become sexually active. Conclusively, as far as the theory is concerned, it is imperative to incorporate thoughts regarding how the transgendered persons who also constitute the community develop as far as personality is concerned.
Sigmund Freud’s Theories | Simply Psychology. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/Sigmund-Freud.html
Beystehner, K. M. (1998). Psychoanalysis: Freud’s Revolutionary Approach to Human Personality. Retrieved October, 8, 2008.
Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S. E. (2016). Theories of personality. Cengage Learning.
Larsen, R. J., & Buss, D. M. (2008). Personality psychology. Jastrebarsko: Naklada Slap.