Evaluation of a Psychodynamic Theory of Personality Development

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Evaluation of a Psychodynamic Theory of Personality Development

The basis of Freud's psychoanalytic theory was that the mind contained three parts: The Id, Ego, and Superego. He argued that the Id controlled the primal instincts such as aggression and sexual desire ('libido'), and was found in the unconscious mind. Its purpose is to gain immediate gratification, according to the 'pleasure principle'. The Id, he said, was in competition with the ego. This is because the ego, working on the reality principle, is the more rational, and conscious mind. The superego oversees the Id and ego, and creates the sense of what is right and wrong. Freud believed that the Id was innate, that the Ego developed by
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However, since the personality divisions are not physical, there is no way to prove that they do or do not exist.

As a result of the conflicts between the Id, ego and Super Ego, Freud argued that the mind prepared ego defence mechanisms to reduce anxiety. These were Repression, Displacement, Projection, Denial and Intellectualisation. Myers and Brewin provided support for this theory in their study. They identified a set of people as 'repressors', and found that it took them longer to recall a childhood event than the control group. The study indicates that repression can be used as a defence. However, there is no way of checking the data the participants gave, and no way of confirming that repression had occurred.

Freud also proposed that there were five distinct stages of psychosexual development, from birth until puberty. An innate driving force for satisfaction, called 'Libido', was responsible for the series of fixations on body parts. During the oral stage, the infant enjoys eating and sucking objects, during the anal stage, it develops an interest in the anal region, and during the phallic stage it gains satisfaction from the genital region. Afterwards, there is a latency stage and a genital stage. During the Phallic stage, it was proposed that boys developed the Oedipus complex. This involved a
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