This is the first Psycho Dynamic theory about the way the mind works. The structure of Freud's monumental twenty-three volume corpus of work was written over forty-five years.
Instincts of Development and Destruction
Freud says that the Eros or the love instinct and its opposite, the Death Instinct are what motivate behavior. The first establishes and preserves unity through relationships and the latter does the opposite.
The two instincts can either operate against each other through repulsion or combine with each other through attraction (Freud, 1949, p. 19).
Sexuality as Life
Sexuality is understood in the largest sense of the term. It is seen as a reflection of the Life Instinct or Eros. Seen in this light, it is understandable that he thinks that sexuality manifests soon after birth. Actually, there is enough biological evidence for this now.
Freud’s like all other psycho-dynamic theories, is a lifespan theory. (1949) contends that sexual life begins with manifestations that present themselves soon after birth (p. 23).
components of the lifespan theory
The four main phases in sexual development are considered the components of the lifespan theory.
The oral phase
The needs of the mouth take on importance. The mouth emerges as the first erotogenic zone (Freud, 1949, p. 24).
The sadistic-anal phase
Psychological satisfaction is achieved via aggression and in the excretory function.
The phallic phase
The young boy enters the Oedipus phase where he fears his father and castration while simultaneously fantasizing about sexual relations with his mother (Freud, 1949, p. 25). The young girl, enters the Electra phase, where she experiences penis envy, which often culminates in her turning away from sexual life altogether.
This is followed by the a period of latency, in which sexual development comes to a halt (Freud, 1949, p. 23).
The genital phase
The sexual function is completely organized and the coordination of sexual urge towards pleasure is completed.
The Layers of the Mind
An example of a ‘Freudian slip’ might be calling your current partner by the name of your previous one. The term gets its name from the Psychoanalytic Theory because of Freudian thought on layers of the mind. The psychoanalytic view holds that there are inner forces outside of your awareness that are direct behaviour. The slip is attributed to the culprit’s unresolved feelings for the ex or perhaps because of misgivings about the new relationship.
Freud (1949) defines the qualities of the psychical process as being conscious, preconscious, or unconscious (p. 31).
Contains mental processes (ideas etc.) we are aware of, think about and can articulate rationally. A part of this includes our memory. Freud called this ordinary memory the preconscious. It must be understood that these mental processes inevitably slip into the other layers of the mind.
Preconscious ideas are those that are capable of becoming conscious.
In contrast, unconscious ideas are defined as those that are not easily accessible but can be inferred, recognized, and explained through analysis (Freud, 1949, p. 32).You are unaware of them. Most are hard to accept and unpleasant, such as feelings of pain, anxiety, or conflict. But they wield tremendous influence over or everyday behavior.
Components of Personality
- Present from birth
- Entirely unconscious
- Includes instinctive and primitive behaviours
- Considered the source of all psychic energy, making it the primary component of personality
- The Id continuously motivates you, without you ‘knowing’ to seek ‘pleasure’ and when this process is frustrated, you move towards feeling anxious. Freud postulated that since its not always possible to get what you want, the mind manages to soothe itself by creating a mental image of the object of desire.
- Develops from the Id
- Filters the desires of the Id so they are expressed in a socially acceptable way. One of the ways it does this is by finding substitutes in the real world, for the mental images that are created by the Id.
- The ego functions in both the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious mind
- Representation of internalized moral standards and ideals, acquired from parents and society – your sense of right and wrong. Provides guidelines for making judgments
- Emerges at around age five
- Has two parts: the Ego Ideal – approved behaviour and the Conscience – forbidden behaviour.
According to Freud, the key to a healthy personality is a balance between the id, the ego, and the superego.
Dreaming To Be
Freud defines the states of sleep to be a period of uproar and chaos during which the unconscious, repressed childhood memories and thoughts of the id attempt to force their way into consciousness (Freud, 1949, p. 38). In order to interpret a dream, which develops from either the id or the ego, certain assumptions must be made, including the acknowledgment that what is recalled from a dream is only a facade behind which the meaning must be inferred. The need to interpret a dream is based in the belief that they are thought of as a means to wish-fulfilment.
An aspect of analysis that has both positive and negative repercussions is transference, which occurs when patients view their analysts as parents, role models, or other figures from their past. Transference causes patients to become concerned with pleasing their analysts and, as a result, patients lose their rational aim of getting well (Freud, 1949, p. 52).
There are three groups of critics (Beystehner). The first dislike his methods of data collection. The second, his techniques and a third who think psychoanalysis is too interpretive to be scientific. Freud has many feminist critics because many of his theories viewed women's sexuality in a negative light. In today’s day and age, Freud's view that homosexuality is an “error occurring in the development of the sexual function” is absurd.
Freud's theory must be seen kindly as being restricted to the era in which it was written. It fails to apply itself to phenomenon which is commonplace today; such as same-sex parents raising children in homosexual homes or of single-parent households.
The ability of therapists to strongly influence patients' memories has been supported in numerous studies. Loftus (1993a, 1993b, 1995) has also shown in many studies that memories are often reconstructed and that the therapist aids in the construction process through such avenues as dream interpretation and hypnosis.