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Chapter 2
Theories of Personality




Freud was an Austrian born physician. He was born in a caul; that is, a small portion of the fetal sac covered his head at birth. According to folklore, this was a sign that he would be famous. Freud was a heavy user of cocaine and was said to be "gravely reproached" when it was determined that the drug was highly addictive. He developed the psychiatric treatment known as Psychoanalysis. He taught that memories stored in the subconscious mind influenced a persons mental life. He believed that mental illness resulting from such memories could be cured by psychoanalysis, which brought the memories into consciousness. He felt that dreams were a major key to the subconscious mind. Freud emphasized the effect of sex on behavior. He felt that "with a normal sex life, no neurosis is possible".

Psychoanalysis - Is a method of therapy developed by Freud that concentrates on cultivating a transfer relationship and analyzing resistance to the therapeutic process.Unconscious process In Freuds theory, this is a process in which a person is unaware of emotions because they have been repressed or never permitted to become conscious.

The talking method is a technique used by Freud to release unconscious undesirable thoughts that have been repressed.


Emotions accompany every event we experience and these emotions must ultimately be expressed, according to Freud.

Ideally, the expression of emotions is nondestructive, is normal and should be expected..However

Emotions are sometimes repressed because they go against a persons self-concept. (Youve heard the saying, "he or she is in denial"


Emotions that cannot find direct expression, will find indirect ones, such as neurotic symptoms.


Freud developed a technique called "free association" in order to help patients recover repressed ideas.

In free association the patient is asked to verbalize whatever comes to mind no matter how insignificant, trivial, or even unpleasant the idea might be. Later he or she "reflect" upon those associations.



(what are they?)

Slips: In Freuds theory, bungled acts, such as a slip of the tongue, a slip of the pen, or a memory lapse.

Freud considered "slips" and dreams to be the royal road to the unconscious. Freudian slips are analyzed through free association


Freud placed significant importance on dreams

When an individual wakes after sleeping, the dreams we remember in the morning is known as "manifest dreams" (the dream as it is remembered the next morning). However, the underlying meaning of these dreams is referred to as the "latent meaning" (the real meaning or motive that underlies the dream that we remember).

The nature of our repressed wishes and desires is sexual. Freud redefined the concept of sexuality as pleasure seeking. In doing so, he reversed many traditional concepts and was able to account for previously unexplained behaviors. As his work developed, he emphasized the psychological aspects of mental processes and sexuality, an emphasis apparent in his use of the terms drive and libido.



Freud outlined a set of "psychosexual stages" that children travel as they develop. These Stages are:Oral Stage: Major source of pleasure is in the mouth. (Babys Nursing)Anal Stage: Major source of libido energy is found in the anus and buttock.Phallic Stage: The genital organs become important and children

experience the "Oedipus Complex" (an unconscious

psychological conflict in which the child loves the parent

of the opposite sex). Resolution of this conflict leads to

sexual identification.Latency Period: A time of rest and non activity.Genital Stage: Begins at puberty when the sexual organs mature and the

individual is able to assume the sexual role defined by his

or her culture.

The effects of the psychosexual stages can be seen in various adult character traits and disorders. If the libido is unduly frustrated or overindulged at an early stage, it may become "fixated" (a concept in which there is an arrest of growth, and excessive needs characteristic of an earlier stage are created by overindulgence or undue frustration).


The id, ego, and superego represent different functions of the personality.

The "id" is the oldest and original function. It includes our genetic inheritance, reflexes, instincts and drives that motivate us. (Yawns, sneezes, hunger)

The "ego" is ones conscious perception of self. (executor, satisfies the needs of the id)

The "superego" is the function of personality that internalize values, ideals, and moral standards. (seeks perfection)


One generally thinks of anxiety as worry; a fear that something undesirable is going to happening.

Freud list three forms of anxiety and make a distinction between each:Reality anxiety (the fear of a real danger in the external world)Neurotic anxiety (the fear that ones inner impulse cannot control)Moral anxiety (fear of the retribution of ones own conscience)



Freud felt that in order for one to cope with his or her anxiety, the ego develops defense mechanisms, a procedure that wards off anxiety and prevent our conscious perception of it. Defense mechanisms share two features: they occur on an unconscious level so that we are not aware of what we are doing, and they deny or distort reality so as to make it less threatening.

Defense mechanisms in and of themselves are not destructive, indeed, we cannot survive without them. However, should their distortion of reality become too extreme or should they be used to the exclusion of other, more effective means of dealing with reality, defense mechanisms may become maladaptive and destructive, preventing further personal and social growth.



Repression (Blocking a wish or desire from expression so that it cannot be experienced consciously or expressed directly in behavior)Denial (Refusing to believe a reality of fact of life)

Projection (The act of unconscious attributing an impulse, attitude, or behavior onto someone or something else in the environment)Reaction formation (Expresses an impulse by its opposite. Hostility, for example, may be replaced by friendship. Frequently, however, the substitution is exaggerated, thereby calling into question the genuineness of the feeling. Regression (Moving backward in time to a stage that was less anxious and had fewer responsibilities. Regression frequently occurs following a traumatic experience. The child who begins bedwetting again when frightened by the prospect of going to school may be showing signs of regression. Rationalization (Dealing with an emotion or impulse analytically and intellectually in order to avoid feeling it. As the term implies, it involves faulty reasoning, since the problem remains unresolved on the emotional level. Aesops fable about the fox who could not reach the grapes and concluded that they were probably sour is a classic example of rationalization. Although Freud is called the "Father of Psychoanalysis" and always had a group of loyal followers, it was inevitable that such a dynamic figure would both attract and repel other theorists. Even some of his original followers became dissatisfied with orthodox psychoanalysis, defected from the movement, and founded their own schools of thought. Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Karen Horney, and Eric Fromm were all deeply indebted to Freud. At the same time, each reacted in varying ways against Freuds psychoanalytic theory and developed his or her own position with less emphasis on sex.

While Freud thought of his theories as Scientific, however, most analyst, would classify his work as Philosophical.

In the next three Chapters we will look at some of Freuds former followers and how they differed with him.

Next week in Chapter 3, we will look at the work of Carl Jung.






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