Thursday, October 9, 2014

Psychoanalytic Personality Assessment

          Personality theorists such as Sigmund Freud, Carl G. Jung, and Alfred Adler developed theories to explain personality. Comparing and contrasting such psychoanalytic theories will help decide what characteristics of these theories to agree and disagree with. Also, of importance are the stages of Freud’s theory and Freudian defense mechanisms.
Comparing and Contrasting the Psychoanalytic Theories of Freud, Jung, and Adler
            Freud, Jung, and Adler developed critical and important psychoanalytic theories in regard to the development of personality. Freud held the belief that the development of personality occurred in stages related to erogenous zones, and that failure of completion of any stage successfully resulted in personality problems in adulthood. Also, Freud held the belief that the development of personality was barely by choice or of no choice. Jung also held the belief that personality developed in stages that peaked with individuation or self-realization, also referred to as analytical psychology; however, Jung disagreed with Freud’s beliefs (Feist & Feist, 2009). Of importance was ages of 35 to 40 or the second half of life; whereas, opportunities arose to use particular elements of personality for obtaining self-realization. Also, in disagreement with Freud, Adler held the belief that individuals held the responsibility who they were or who they became in regard to personality.
Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory
          In regard to Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory it takes into account that the mind occurs at differing levels, that is, the unconscious, preconscious, and conscious levels. The unconscious level possesses drives and instincts that individuals are unaware of; however, they are motives for actions, that is, in regard to words and feelings. In this regard, individuals possess consciousness of unconcealed behaviors, but they are unaware of the mental processes involved with behaviors that are overt. The preconscious level contains elements that are not conscious thoughts at first; however, such elements may manifest into consciousness willingly or with a level of difficulty. Consciousness has a minuscule role within Freud’s theory; however, consciousness involves mental elements that individuals have awareness of at no particular moment-in-time.
            In regard to provinces of the mind, Freud’s belief was that three elements, that is, the id, the ego, and the superego were the elements of personality. Freud believed that the id was the center of personality and was an unconscious psychical region. The id is without a means of connecting with reality; however, the id constantly exerts an effort toward the reduction of tension by satisfying basic or essential needs and desires (Feist & Feist, 2009). Although, when the goal of satisfaction is unattainable a state of anxiety or tension are the end results. The id maintains the function of servicing the pleasure principle; therefore, pleasure seeking is the sole purpose of the id. In regard to the ego, governed by the reality principle, which is the pleasure principle of the id makes an effort toward substituting for the pleasure principle of the id. Also, secondary functioning processes occur in the ego. The ego is the sole region of the mind making contact with any notion of reality and develops in infancy as a result of the id.
          The ego develops into the sole means of communication between the mind and reality. Therefore, because of this connection, the ego possesses the ability of being the decision-maker of personality. It makes decisions on the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious levels of personality because it is partially unconscious, preconscious, and conscious. In regard to the superego, it is a depiction of personality’s moral and ideal elements (Feist & Feist, 2009). Governed by moralistic and idealistic principles, the superego develops as a result of the ego; however, the superego does not possess the energy or lacks energy unlike the ego. The superego demands perfection that is unrealistic because it lacks a connection with reality, also unlike with the ego. The subsystems of the superego are the ego-ideal and conscience. As a result of receiving rewards for ideal behavior the ego-ideal develops and it relays what behavior should occur.
          As a result of experiences of punishment in regard for abnormal behaviors, conscience develops and it is as a reference for guiding what behavior should not occur. The superego’s purpose is as for a means of control for sexual and aggressive impulses. However, it cannot produce processes of repression; therefore, it orders the ego to do so (Feist & Feist, 2009).  
Jung’s Analytic Psychology
          In regard to Jung’s Analytic Psychology, he took into account that the psyche or mind was split into three areas; the conscious ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious (Friedman & Schustack, 2012). The ego developed around four years age is similar to Freud’s belief of the ego, and is conscious element of personality embodying a sense of self. The personal unconscious holds feelings as well as thoughts that are not aspects of the conscious awareness; although, thoughts are accessible (Friedman & Schustack, 2012). Friedman and Schustack (2012), “the personal unconscious contains thoughts and urges that are simply unimportant at present as well as those that have been actively repressed because of their ego-threatening nature” (p. 109). The collective unconscious consists of unconsciousness that is at deeper level and comprised of archetypes or emotional transpersonal symbols that are powerful.
          Friedman and Schustack (2012), “the presence of such archetypes or emotional patterns predisposes us to react in predictable ways to common, recurring stimuli” (p. 109). Adler developed Individual Psychology because of his beliefs that individuals’ motivations were unique and because of how important individuals’ perceived niche is in society (Friedman & Schustack, 2012).
Adler’s Individual Psychology
          Adler believed that striving for superiority is personality’s central core. Therefore, individuals will feel inferior when overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness, and when experiencing events that leave them with a sense of powerlessness. An inferiority complex will develop when feelings become pervasive (Friedman & Schustack, 2012). Individuals may fabricate a superiority complex to maintain a sense of self-worth when they struggle to overcome an inferiority complex. In regard to human motivations Adler’s beliefs changed over time; therefore, his theory changed. Alder developed the concepts of organ inferiority, aggression drive, masculine protest, and perfection striving; as well as the identifying fundamental social issues such as occupational, societal, and love tasks with the evolution of his theory.
Agreed and Disagreed upon Characteristics
          In regards to agreement of characteristics of theories, agreement occurs with Jung’s notion that development of personality still occurred into adulthood, and partially with Adler in regard to individuals being responsible for their own personality. Disagreement occurs with Freud’s notion that stages of development related to erogenous zones and with the notion that the development of personality was without choice. 
The Stages of Freud’s Theory and Characteristics of Personality
            In regard to Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, he developed stages of personality development; whereas he assumed the development of personality indeed occurred in stages. The more so crucial developmental stage is the infantile stage that occurs in the first four or five years of development; whereas, infants possess a sexual life. During this stage an infant will progress through a developmental period of sexuality referred to as pregenital. Three phases occur during this stage referred to as the oral, the anal, and the phallic phases. What occurs in the oral, anal, and phallic phases is that the main erogenous zone progresses through salient development. The mouth is the particular erogenous zone during the oral phase. While the anus is the particular erogenous zone during the anal phase and the penis is the particular erogenous zone during the phallic phase. The infantile stage yields insight into how personality develops through each phase and why particular behaviors occur.
Uses of Freudian Defense Mechanisms
          Freudian defense mechanisms are processes distorting reality as a means of protecting the ego (Friedman & Schustack, 2011). One defense mechanism is repression; which is a means of using the unconscious to store threatening thoughts. For instance, rape victims who do not seek psychological help after instances of rape repress instances of rape as a means of forgetting what occurred to not relive the instance of rape. Another defense mechanism is reaction formation; which is a means of pushing away threatening impulses through overemphasis the opposite in actions and thoughts. For instance a married man would overemphasis the meaning of commitment within marriage to other individuals, but however he or she may be partaking in an extramarital affair(s). Also, denial is another defense mechanism; which is a means of refusing to acknowledge stimuli that provoke anxiety. For instance, individuals may deny that instances of gambling provokes anxiety but continue to do so as a means for personal gain.     
            Psychoanalytic theories, such as those developed by Freud, Jung, and Adler serve a critical purpose of explaining the development of personality for varying perspectives. These theories provide insight into understanding personality. To gain further insight into Freud’s thoughts of personality development, understanding the stages of his theory is a necessity. Repression, reaction formation, and denial are instances of defense mechanisms that individuals use for real-life purposes as a means to distort reality in order to protect the ego in regard to Freud’s work as well. 

Friedman, H. S., & Schustack, M. W., (2011). Personality. Classic Theories and Modern Research (5th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.

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