Friday, November 29, 2013

Personality Analysis (Sigmund Freud and Carl Rogers)

          In psychology, personality is one of the hardest “terms” to define. Feist and Feist (2009), “although no single definition is acceptable to all personality theorists, we can say that personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior” (p. 4). There is no single acceptable definition of personality, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Rogers developed theories of personality from their own point-of-view. Through an analysis of Freud’s and Rogers’ theories, one learns how both Freud and Rogers made basic assumptions regarding personality, how their theories had an effect on psychology and how both of their theories have real-world applications.
Basic Assumptions Regarding Personality
Freud’s Assumptions
          Through his psychoanalytic theory, Freud made several assumptions regarding personality. Freud assumed the mind occurred at different levels; the unconscious, preconscious, and conscious. Unconsciousness has instincts, drives, or urges beyond what one is aware of but are motives for one’s actions, such as feelings, and words. Therefore, an individual may have consciousness of unconcealed behaviors; however, he or she has no awareness of the mental process behind overt behaviors (Feist & Feist, 2009). The preconscious is a level of the unconscious as is the unconscious proper. It contains elements that do not start as consciousness but may result in consciousness readily or with some degree of difficultness (Feist & Feist, 2009). In Freud’s theory, consciousness has a minimal role. Consciousness is the mental elements one is aware of at no particular point.
          As for provinces of the mind, Freud assumed that personality consisted of three elements, which are the id, ego, and superego. The id is an unconscious psychical region at the center of personality. The id has no means of connection with reality, but continually makes an effort in reducing tension by the satisfaction of basic desires and needs. However, if satisfaction is not met the resulting outcome is a state of tension or anxiety. The id services the pleasure principle; therefore, its only function is seeking pleasure. The ego is the site of secondary process functioning. The mind’s only region that makes contact with any sort of reality is that the ego, and it grows during infancy out of the id. It becomes an individual’s only means of communication with the part of the outside world. The reality principle governs the ego, which is the id’s pleasure principle, which the ego tries to substitute.
          The ego is the decision-maker of personality because it is the only region with a connection regarding the outside world and because of it is partially conscious, preconscious, and unconscious it has the ability of making decisions on three levels of personality. The superego is a representation of the ideal and moral aspects of personality. Idealistic and moralistic principles guide the superego, instead of the id’s pleasure principle or ego’s realistic principle. The superego develops from the ego but has no energy, such as like the ego (Feist & Feist, 2009). The superego does not have a connection with the external world, and it demands unrealistic perfection. Conscience and the ego-ideal are superego’s subsystems. The conscience is a result of experiences of punishments for irregular behavior and provides the knowledge of what should not occur. The ego-ideal develops form one’s experiences of rewards for correct behavior and relays what should occur (Feist & Feist, 2009). The actions of the superego are of controlling aggressive and sexual impulses; a process of repression it cannot produce. It orders the ego to produce repressions. It also judges the actions and intentions of the ego.   
          As for his stages of personality development, Freud assumed that indeed one’s development of personality occurred in stages and that the infantile stage is the more crucial developmental stage. During one’s first four or five years they possess a sexual life. Therefore, infants proceed through a development period of sexuality called pregenital (Feist & Feist, 2009). There are three phases of this stage, which are the oral, the anal, and the phallic phases. During these phases a primary erogenous zone undergoes salient development (Feist & Feist, 2009). In the oral phase the specific erogenous zone is the mouth. In the anal phase the specific erogenous zone is the anus. In the phallic phase the specific erogenous zone is the penis. The infantile stage explains the behavior of individuals and how aspects of his or her personality develop in these phases.
Rogers’ Assumptions
          Through his person-centered theory, Rogers suggested extensive assumptions about formative and actualizing tendencies. As for the formative tendency, his belief was that there is the tendency for the evolution of matter (organic and inorganic), whereas it starts as a simple form and develops into a complex form (Feist & Feist, 2009). As for the universe, Rogers believed a creative process was occurring instead of a disintegrative process, which is the process Rogers called formative tendency. Examples of the formative tendency are how complex organisms develop from single cells develop into complex organisms and how the human consciousness evolved into a highly organized awareness from a primitive unconsciousness (Feist & Feist, 2009). As for actualizing tendency this is a more relevant and interrelated assumption of Rogers. Actualizing tendency or humans’, animals’ and plants’ internal tendency is to move toward fulfilling or completing potentials.
          As for humans, the only motive they possess is actualizing tendency. An example of the motive of actualization is the needs to express deep emotions when these emotions occur; another example is for a human to satisfy a hunger drive. Actualization involves the entirety of an individual because every individual operates as a complete organism (Feist & Feist, 2009). Under particular conditions humans only realize their actualization tendency. Feist and Feist (2009), “specifically, people must be involved in a relationship with a partner who is congruent, or authentic, and who demonstrates empathy and unconditional positive regard” (p. 314). Possessing a relationship with an individual who possesses these qualities does not enable an individual’s movement toward his or her constructive development, but it enables an individual actualization of his or her internal tendency toward self-fulfillment (Feist & Feist, 2009).
          An assertion of Rogers’ was that when empathy, congruence, and when unconditional positive regard occurs in a relationship, without exception psychological growth occurs. Therefore, Rogers consider these conditions a necessity and adequate conditions for an individual to become an individual who is a self-actualizing or who can function fully. Humans, nonhuman animals, and plants have an actualizing tendency; however, the concept of self and the self-actualization potential is only the possession of humans. Self-actualization and the actualization tendency are not synonymous; however, self-actualization is a subset of the actualization tendency.
The impact the theories had on Psychology
The impact of Freud’s theories
          As one of the most influential thinkers in psychology, Freud’s theories had a tremendous effect on psychology. Freud’s theories affected and shaped numerous views of childhood, childhood experiences, sexuality, and personality. Other influential thinkers either contributed to Freud’s theories or developed new theories in opposition of his ideas; therefore, Freud’s theories influenced new schools of thoughts.  Freud’s theories had such an effect on psychology that a school of thought developed from his work. This school of thought saw its replacement by the development and rise of behaviorism, but psychoanalysis had an enduring effect on psychology.
The impact of Rogers’ theories
            As an influential psychologist and thinker similar to Freud in psychology, Rogers’ theory had an influential effect on psychology and therapy. Rogers’ emphasis was on the human potential; therefore he had a tremendous influence on personality development and growth. Rogers introduced several concepts into psychology and therapy, such as congruence and unconditional positive regard, which can enhance psychological growth.
Real-world Applications of each theory
Real-world Applications of Psychoanalytic theory
          Freud and other psychologist through psychoanalytic theory developed numerous applications or methods useful in investigating and treating personality disorders, dream interpretation, and developed its usefulness in psychotherapy. This theory also possess the idea that what happens in an individual’s childhood can affect him or her as an adult, therefore it addressing childhood experiences in therapy, which allows an individual to heal or grow as an adult.   
Real-world Applications of Person-Centered theory
            Rogers and other psychologist through person-centered theory developed numerous applications of client-centered approach numerous fields, such as education, business, group work, leadership, cross-cultural communication, personal relationships, intergroup conflict resolution, international peacekeeping, and client therapy. In these cases Rogers successfully demonstrated how facilitative conditions of empathy, positive regard, and congruence could foster growth, learning, creativity, and healing in clients, children, families, students, group members, and others (Cornelius-White, Motschnig-Pitrik, & Lux, 2013).
          Sigmund Freud and Carl Rogers were two influential men in psychology, who developed theories that made assumptions regarding personality. The effect the theories had on psychology helped to further psychology as a science, and helped in bettering the treatment of patients and understanding how and why personalities develop. The effect their theories had on psychology are important because their theories have furthered psychology and have had real-world applications that better the well-being of individuals in the future.    

Cornelius-White, J.H.D., Motschnig-Pitrik, R., & Lux, M. (2013). Interdisciplinary Applications of the Person-Centered Approach . New York, NY: Springe.

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