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The Psychodynamic Theory PS240 WK6 - Term Paper Example

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The psychodynamic theory is one that sets out to explain the origins of personality with the most popular theory being postulated by neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychodynamic theory centers around the concept that “human behavior and relationships are shaped by conscious and…
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The Psychodynamic Theory The psychodynamic theory is one that sets out to explain the origins of personality with the most popular theory being postulated by neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychodynamic theory centers around the concept that “human behavior and relationships are shaped by conscious and unconscious influences (Taylor, 2011).” Freud took on the task of pinpointing the various unconscious aspects of human beings that are involved in the shaping of behavior and relationships, such as the characteristics of the structure of personality and defense mechanisms that the personality resorts to when faced with stress and anxiety.
According to Freud, the structure of personality consists of three components, which are the id, ego, and superego. The id is in control of instincts that are related to survival and aggression, biological urges, and the need to seek pleasure, which is referred to as the pleasure principle. The id, being illogical, irrational, and driven by impulses, is distinguished by primary process thinking. The second component of personality is the logical and rational ego, which is characterized by secondary process thinking. The reality principle plays a role in the ego’s functions, making it aware that appeasing to impulses cannot always occur due to the demands of the real world. As such, the ego “manages the conflict between the id and the constraints of the real world (Freud, 2010).” The final component is the superego, which is the part of the personality that maintains the moral standards adapted from society and family. The superego is the purveyor of guilt and forces the ego to adapt to the real world and to concepts of morality.
Given the complex structure of personality, Freud noted that the id, ego, and superego are in permanent conflict with one another. Freud claimed that these conflicts most likely dealt with sexual urges and aggressiveness as society has rules surrounding these urges, their prevalence, and how they are tended to. Due to the constant conflicts of these personality components, it is believed that individuals feel anxious when the ego becomes incapable of balancing the demands of both the id and superego. As such, an individual’s personality resorts to unconscious and automatic behaviors known as defense mechanisms to fight against the internal conflicts of their personality.
Defense mechanisms include repression, projection, displacement, reaction formation, and regression. Repression is when a thought, feeling, desire, or memory is suppressed so that it becomes unconscious. Repression causes individuals to forget certain aspects of their life or individuality. Projection involves unconsciously transferring one’s personal thoughts or desires to another person. Displacement occurs when an individual unconsciously transfers intense emotions about a person or incident onto someone or something else. Reaction formation is when an individual has thoughts or feelings that are considered unacceptable based on societal and moral ideals, and so they behave in a way that is the complete opposite of what they are thinking or feeling. A final defense mechanism is known as regression, which involves an individual changing to an “immature state of psychological development (Ellis & Abrams, 2009)” instead of controlling unsatisfactory impulses in a mature, adult way.
Ellis, A., & Abrams, L. (2009). Personality theories: Critical perspectives. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.
Freud, S. (2010). The ego and the id. LaVergne, TN: Pacific Publishing Studio.
Taylor, E. (2011). The mysteries of personality: A history of psychodynamic theories. New York: Springer-Verlag New York, LLC. Read More
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