Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory
Psychoanalytic Sigmund Freud developed his psychoanalytic theory while working with patients suffering with mental health illnesses (Santrock, 2007, p. 39). According to Freud the mind can be divided up into two main parts which are the conscious and the unconscious. The conscious mind includes everything that we are aware of and our unconscious mind consists of feelings, thoughts, urges and memories that are harder to retrieve (IBID). Freud also believed that personalities have three structures, the id, the ego and the superego.
The id is the only component of personality that is present from birth and it is self serving, irrational, impulsive and entirely unconscious. It operates on the pleasure principle, which is a desire for immediate satisfaction of wishes, desires or needs (IBID). The ego is influenced by the reality principle, which delays actions until they are appropriate. The ego is the part of personality that that deals with thinking, problem solving and deciding. The superego is the structure of personality that is the moral branch of personality.
The superego decides whether something is right or wrong and it is referred to as our conscience (Santrock, 2007, p. 39). The ego ideal is another part of our superego and this includes the rules and standards for good behaviours. As Freud analyzed his patients he came up with the conclusion that their problems were the result of experiences from their earlier life so he came up with five stages. The oral stage occurs during the first year of life, during this stage the infant’s pleasure centres around the mouth.
Freud believed that if the infant is not weaned properly they will have trust issues and become over dependent in their adult life (Hall, 2011). The anal stage occurs from the age of one to the age of three. During this stage the child will learn how to control their bladder and bowel movements and the major conflict at this stage is toilet training. (Coon & Mitterer, 2010, p. 401). The phallic stage occurs between the ages of three and six. During this stage the main focus is on gentiles and children begin to distinguish the difference between males and females (IBID).
The latency stage occurs from the age of 6 to puberty. During this stage the child represses all interest in sexuality and develops social and intellectual skills. This stage is important in the development of social and communication skills (Hall, 2011). The genital stage occurs from puberty onwards. During this stage the individual develops a strong sexual interest in the opposite sex. Freud believed that if the individual had not completed any of these stages successfully then they will be stuck at that certain stage until they complete it.