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Evaluate Freuds Psychodynamic Theory

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Evaluate Freud's psychodynamic theory.

The godfather of psychology....as he has often been termed. Perhaps he was in his time.

Sigmund Freud. Born in Freiberg, Morovia, to a poor family in the year 1856. His mother was 21 at the time of his birth, his father was 20 years her senior. Attitudes towards sex and women were very different at this time. Sex was very much taboo, women were treated as second class and children had no rights. Extreme double standards were normal, rich men would happily pay prostitutes for their services, while strictly withholding standards closer to home.

Freud lived most of his life in Vienna and was educated at Vienna university. He studied to be a physician, and had a particularly keen interest in neurology. In 1885 he moved to Paris where he spent time studying under Jean Charoct in a mental hospital. It was there that Freud became interested in hysteria.

Freud studied hysteria at length. He became involved with Josef Breuer. Dr Breuer became Freuds mentor, together they co - authored a book on hysteria. It was during these studies Freud concluded that secret sexual desires were the root of all hysteria neurosis. This started his in depth studies of his famous psychodynamic theory.

It was during these studies that Freud came to realise that the personality was made up of having three aspects. The 'id', the 'ego', and the 'super ego'.

The id is the part of personality that is responsible for survival and self gratification. It is our primitive mind. It is the source of our libido and has only one rule, satisfying the pleasure principle.

The ego deals with our rational thought. The ego develops out of growing awareness that you can not always get what you want. It has a tough job compromising negotiates between the id and the super ego. The ego pleases the id but has to remain responsible and bear the long term consequences in mind.

The super ego is the last part of the mind to develop. It is best described as the moral of personality. The super ego has two sub systems those being; ego ideal and conscience. The ego ideal lays down the law regarding positive behaviour and standards which the ego must live up to. The conscience are the set of rules which define deviant behaviour. The conscience house thoughts and behaviour that would result in punishment if they were to be acted out.

As if all that wasn't enough, Freud was also responsible for defining the five stages of psychosexual development which are briefly explained below.

Stage one: The oral stage (0 - 18 months). During this stage, the physical focus is on the mouth. The young child receives libidinal pleasure while feeding. Any problems at this stage, for example, over indulgence or privation could lead the to an oral personality in adulthood. Suggesting that the adult would partake in extensive oral activity e.g smoking, excessive drinking or eating disorders.

Stage two: The anal stage (18 months - 36 months). Freud believed that the child experienced erogenous pleasure while defecating. Potty training takes place around this time, so the child had to learn control over its bowels. Also the caregiver puts emphasis on the child to control urges regarding deviant behaviour ( often called the terrible twos ). If the caregiver is too controlling the child is likely to grow to have an anally retentive personality e.g the adult will have rigid thought complexes, be overly organised, and obsessed with neatness. On the other hand, if the caregiver is not controlling enough, the child will grow up to be messy, untidy and could possibly be defiant with little self control.

Stage three: The phallic stage (3 - 6 years). The physical focus at this stage for both boys and girls is the penis. Boys wonder why girls haven't got one, and in return, girls start noticing that they are without one. Also during this stage, Freud suggested that children have sexual feelings for the opposite sexed parent. ( and deal with Oedipus and Electra complexes respectively ). Boys experience castration anxiety and girls suffer penis envy (the lack). Fixation at this stage could result in promiscuity and amoral behaviour.

Stage four: The latency stage (6 years to the onset of puberty). This is a calm period where virtually no psychosexual conflicts are taking place. Boys and girls tend to be gender aware throughout this stage and have little in common

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