Evaluate the Extent to Which Freud's Theory of Psychosexual Development Can Help Us to Understand a Client's Presenting Issue?

2411 Words May 29th, 2013 10 Pages
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In this essay I am going to evaluate the extent to which Freud’s theory of psychosexual development can help us to understand a client’s presenting issue. I will be describing Freud’s psychosexual theory and its relationship to adult neurotic behaviour as well as looking at the criticisms of Freudian theory.

According to Freud personality is mostly established by the age of five. Early experiences play a large role in personality development and continue to influence behaviour later on in life.

Freud’s theory of psychosexual development is one of the best known, but also one of the most controversial. Freud believed that personality develops through a series of childhood stages during which the pleasure-seeking energies of
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The Oedipus Complex describes these feelings of wanting to possess the Mother and a desire to replace the Father. The term Electra complex describes a similar set of feelings experienced by young girls. Freud believed that girls experienced penis envy.

Eventually the child begins to identify with the same sex parent as a means of vicariously possessing the other parent. For girls Freud believed that penis envy was never fully resolved and that all women remain fixated on this stage. Psychologists such as Karen Horney disputed this theory, saying it is both inaccurate and demeaning to women. Horney suggested that men experienced feelings of inferiority because they cannot give birth to children.

The Latent Period Age 6 to puberty erogenous zone – Sexual feelings are inactive

During this period, the libido interests are suppressed. The development of the ego and superego contribute to this period of calm. This stage begins around the time that children begin school and become more concerned with peer relationships, hobbies and other interests. This period is a time for exploration in which the sexual energy is still present, but is directed into other areas such as intellectual pursuits and social interactions. This stage is important for the development of social and communication skills and self-confidence.

The Genital Stage Age – Puberty to death erogenous zone – Maturing sexual interests

During this final stage of
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