Chapter 9: Psychoanalytic Approaches To Personality
- University of South Australia
- Psychology Behl 3024
- Chapter 9: Psychoanalytic Approaches To Personality
Last Modified: 2014-06-23
Related Textbooks:Personality Psychology: Domains of Knowledge About Human Nature
- Treated nervous disorders
- Married, 6 kids (Anna)
- Fled from Nazis-> London 1938
- a source of energy that is within each person, a wellspring of motivation.
- Operated according to the law of conservation energy: the amount of PE an individual possessed remained constant throughout his or her lifetime.
- Personality change was viewed as redirection of a person's PE.
- Libido (life instinct)
- Thanatos (death Instinct)
- Freud later suggested that libido and thanatos could combine in various ways.
- The conscious
- The preconscious
- The unconscious
- Whatever you are currently perceiving or thinking about is in your conscious mind.
- There thoughts represent only a small fraction of the information available to you.
- e.g., what were you wearing yesterday?
- what was the name of your best-friend in seventh grade?
- there resides unacceptable information, hidden from conscious view so well that it can not even be considered preconscious.
- Those memories, thoughts, urges and feelings are thought to be so troubling or even distasteful that being aware of them would make the person anxious.
- Society does not allow free expression of sexual and aggressive instincts > individual must learn to control their urges > one way is to keep them from entering conscious awareness.
- All kinds of unacceptable sexual and aggressive urges, thoughts, and feelings might accumulate in the unconscious during the course of a typical childhood.
- topographical model!
Psychic Determinism: Nothing Happens by Chance
Freud argued that nothing happens by accident—instead, there is a reason behind every act, thought, and feeling
• Everything we do, think, say, feel is an expression of our mind—either conscious, preconscious, or unconscious
• Reasons could be discovered if contents of the unconscious could be examined
• Most symptoms of mental illness are caused by unconscious motivations (physical expressions of repressed traumatic experiences)
• To cure psychological symptoms, the unconscious cause must be discovered
- Suggested evidence for the 'unconscious' mind
- another example of the unconscious at work.
- The authors of a study complex and simple decision making argue that "it would benefit the individual to think consciously about simple matters and to delegate thinking about more complex matters to the unconscious.
- like a spoiled child - selfish, impulsive, and pleasure loving.
- dominated during infancy
- operates according to:
- the pleasure principle
- primary process thinking
- wish fulfillment
- cannot tolerate delays in satisfying its urges
- does not follow logic, does not listen to reason, has no values or morals and has very little patience.
- e.g., infant - toy
- dreams and fantasies are examples of primary process thinking.
- Freud believed there were principles at work that could be discovered.
- > wish fulfillment
- anger at someone > temporarily satisfied by producing a fantasy of revenge.
- According to Freud, it develops within the two or three years of life ("after the terrible 2s"). Operates according to:
- the reality principle
- secondary process thinking
- the ego understand that the urges of the id are often in conflict with social and physical reality. (e.g., can't just grab a candy bar off the shelf at the store).
- The ego understands that such actions can lead to problems and that direct expression of id impulses must therefore be avoided, redirected, or postponed.
- often this process involves taking into account the constraints of physical reality about when and how to express a desire or an urge. (e.g., teasing one's sister is more acceptable than hitting, and might satisfy the id's aggressive urge.
- Sets moral goals and ideal of perfection > source of judgment. Like id, not bound by reality)
- Begins developing at around the age of 5. (closely linked to a child's identification with his/her parent.
- the part of personality that makes us feel guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed upon doing something "wrong" and pride when we do something "right".
- Usually instilled into the child by society's various socializing agents, such as parents, schools, and organised religions.
- strong emphasis on the role of parents in children's development of self-control and conscience.
- much of conflict is unconscious
- anxiety or guilt often stem as a warning that ego conflict is occurring
- $20 note example. Id says: take it and run, Superego says: thou shalt not steal, Ego mediates.
- Are we doomed to go through life with a chronically exhausted ego due to serial temptations we encounter?
- Baumeister is optimistic about our self-control ability and has introduced a muscle metaphor of ego depletion.
- objective anxiety
- neurotic anxiety
- moral anxiety
- in this case, the control of the go is being threatened by an external factor rather than an internal conflict, unlike the other two types of anxiety.
- out of proportion to the situation
- bulimia example
- Defense mechanisms serves two functions
- to protect the ego.
- to minimize anxiety and stress
- repression, projection, denial, rationalization, regression, displacement
- forerunner of all other forms of defense mechanisms.
- global strategy that the ego uses to maintain forbidden impulses in the unconscious.
- Freud articulated several more specific kinds of defense mechanisms, all of which involved a degree of repression in that some aspect of reality is denied or distorted in the service of reducing anxiety and protecting the control of the of the ego over the psychic system.
- empirical support
- occurs when the reality of a situation is extremely anxiety provoking.
- involves refusing to the see the facts.
- e.g., a man whose wife has left him might still set a place at the table for her and insist that she is supposed to come home anytime. Playing out this scenario night after night might be more acceptable than acknowledging that she is, in reality, gone.
- e.g., woman has an argument with her supervisor at work > she is really angry with the S, but her ego keep her in check because, after all, the S is the boss and can make her work life difficult, so instead, she goes home and displaces her anger onto her husband, perhaps yelling at him.
- little empirical support for the idea.
- For example, explaining away a fail grade by insisting on the unclear instructions of the teacher.
- e.g., anger toward boss replaced with extra kindness and consideration.
- Cooper (1998) - "killing someone with kindness" (people may try to cover up their wishes an intention yet unwittingly express them.
- be sensitive to instances when a person is doing something in access?
- what a person intensely dislikes in or gets upset about with others is often revealing of his/her innermost insecurities.
- e.g., a person who always insults others by calling them "stupid" may, in fact, harbor some insecurity about his or her own intelligence.
- homophobia example
Specificallywhen does this get activated?
- the most adaptive DM according to Freud.
- positive feature of sublimation is that it allows for some limited expression of id tendencies, so the ego does not have to invest energy in holding the id in check.
Stages of development in which the focus of sexual gratification shifts from one body site to another
-Oral (mouth), Anal (bowels), Phallic (genitals), Latency (dormant sexual feelings), Genital (mature sexual feelings)
- each of these stages involves a conflict, and how the person resolves this conflict gives rise to personality
- the sources of individual differences lies in how the child comes to resolve conflicts in each of the stages.
- the conflicts revolve around ways of obtaining a type of sexual gratification. >by investing libidinal energy in a specific body part.
- each successive stage represents a more mature mode of obtaining sexual gratification
- Parts of our personalities are shaped at each stage by the particular ways we resolve conflicts.
- Freud's army
- if a child is fixated at a particular stage, he/she exhibits a less mature approach to obtaining sexual gratification.
- Main sources of pleasure and tension reduction during this stage are the mouth, lips and tongue.
- Main conflict is weaning (withdrawing from the breast or bottle). -> has both a biological and psychological component..
- biological: the id wants the immediate gratification associated with taking in nourishment and obtaining pleasure through the mouth.
- Psychological: the conflict is one of excessive pleasure vs. dependency
- painful or traumatic experience during the weaning process may result in a fixation.
- Example of fixation: smoking or overeating
- also possibly overly dependent (wanting to be babied)
- another: drawing gratification from being psychologically "biting" and verbally attacking.
- Main source of pleasure: the anal sphincter. the child obtains pleasure from first expelling feces and then, during toilet training, from retaining feces. -> At first, the id desire immediate tension reduction whenever there is any pressure in the rectum, achieved by defecating whenever and wherever the urge arises. Parents however work to instil in the child a degree of self-control through the process of toilet training.
- Conflicts around this can lead to: some children who achieve too little control and grow up to be sloppy and dirty. While some may develop too much control and begin to take pleasure in little acts of self control.
- Fixation: adults who are compulsive, overly neat, rigid and never messy are anally fixated.
- awakening of sexual desire directed outward, (parent of opposite sex becomes first love - lusts and sees the same sex parent as a competitor)
- Main conflict: Oedipal Complex. (Daddy is the competitor for Mommy's attention, and he should be beaten and driven away from home or killed. But killing or beating Daddy is wrong)
- successful resolution of the stage marks the beginning of the superego and morality, as well as the male gender role.
- phallic stage
- Oedipus is a character from Greek mythology who unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother,
- little boys come to believe that their fathers might make a preemptive strike by taking away the thing that is the root of the conflict: the boys penis.
- Drives the little boy into giving up his sexual desire for Mommy.
- Begins identification
- marks the beginning of the superego and morality, as well as the male gender role.
- also termed the Electra complex by Carl Jung
- Electra, a character in Greek myth, who convinced her brother to kill their mother after the mother had murdered the father. (rejected by Freud)
- Freud was vague about how the phallic stage resolved for girls, and wrote that it may drag on later in life and never fully resolve. Because successful resolution results in the development of the superego, women must therefore be morally inferior to men.
- Little psychological development is presumed to occur during this time. It is mainly a period when the child is going to school and learning the skills and abilities necessary to take on the role of an adult.
- Because of a lack of specific sexual conflict during this time, Freud believed that it was a period of psychological rest, or latency.
- More modifications include the development of decision making, forming social relationships, learning about work, and developing an identity.
- ends with the sexual awakening brought about by puberty.
- here the libido (the life instinct) is focused on the genital, but not in the manner of self-manipulation associated with the phallic stage.
- differs from the earlier stages in that it is not accompanied by a specific conflict.
- Can only be reached with the resolution of prior stages.
- can be thought of as a method of deliberately restructuring personality.
- very strong relationship between the psychoanalytic theory of personality and psychoanalytic therapy.
- principles of psychoanalytic therapy are directly based on psychoanalytic theory about the structure and functioning of personality.
- theories developed while treating patients in therapy
- the first aim of is to identify unconscious urges, memories or thoughts
once the patient is made aware of this material, the second aim is to help the person deal with them realistically and maturely.
- free association
- the typical psychoanalytic session would last up to 50 minutes, may be repeated several times a week, and may even continue for years.
a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack.
archeology is a good metaphor for this type of work, as the psychoanalyst is digging through all sorts of ordinary material in the search of clues to past conflicts and trauma.
by relaxing the censor that screens out everyday thoughts, this technique allows for potentially important material into conscious awareness. Takes some practice.
Freud held that purpose of dreaming was to satisfy urges and fulfill unconscious wishes and desires, all within the protection of sleep.
- manifest content: what the dream actually contains
latent content: what the elements of the dream represent
- the direct expression of desires and wishes would be so disturbing that would awaken the dreamer. > transformed into symbols. .
- people are thought to project their own personalities into what they report seeing in an ambitious stimulus.
- criticized for scant scientific evidence as to its validity or reliability
Another type of PT involves asking the person to produce something, such as a drawing of a person. What someone draws might be a projection of his or her own conflicts.
- goal is to bypass the patients conscious censor.
- as the patients defenses are threatened by the probing psychoanalyst, the patient may unconsciously setup obstacles to progress.
a welcome sign
- when this material is reintegrated into conscious awareness, and the person experiences the emotions associated with that previously repressed material, then we say that some degree of insight has been achieved.
- displaces feelings
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