Introduced Nature vs. Nurture

Discussed Erikson Model of Development

Freud's Theory on Personality

Social Agents

Refer to both text books.

Assignment given out on Freud's Theory and Nature vs. Nurture.

 

 

id, ego, superego PDF Print E-mail
Sigmund FreudSigmund Freud 1856—1939, Austrian psychiatrist, founder of psychoanalysis. Born in Moravia, he lived most of his life in Vienna, receiving his medical degree from the Univ. of Vienna in 1881.

In considering the human personality as a whole, Freud divided it into three functional parts: id, ego, and superego. He saw the id as the deepest level of the unconscious, dominated by the pleasure principle, with its object the immediate gratification of instinctual drives. The superego, originating in the child through an identification with parents, and in response to social pressures, functions as an internal censor to repress the urges of the id. The ego, on the other hand, is seen as a part of the id modified by contact with the external world. It is a mental agent mediating among three contending forces: the outside demands of social pressure or reality, libidinal demands for immediate satisfaction arising from the id, and the moral demands of the superego. Although considered only partly conscious, the ego constitutes the major part of what is commonly referred to as consciousness. Freud asserted that conflicts between these often-opposing components of the human mind are crucial factors in the development of neurosis.

Today, Freud's method is only one among many types of psychotherapy used in psychiatry. Many objections have been leveled against traditional psychoanalysis, both for its methodological rigidity and for its lack of theoretical rigor. A number of modern psychologists have pointed out that traditional psychoanalysis relies too much on ambiguities for its data, such as dreams and free associations. Without empirical evidence, Freudian theories often seem weak, and ultimately fail to initiate standards for treatment.

His medical career began with an apprenticeship (1885—86) under J. M. Charcot in Paris, and soon after his return to Vienna he began his famous collaboration with Josef Breuer on the use of hypnosis in the treatment of hysteria. Their paper, On the Psychical Mechanism of Hysterical Phenomena (1893, tr. 1909), more fully developed in Studien über Hysterie (1895), marked the beginnings of psychoanalysis in the discovery that the symptoms of hysterical patients-directly traceable to psychic trauma in earlier life-represent undischarged emotional energy (conversion; see hysteria). The therapy, called the cathartic method, consisted of having the patient recall and reproduce the forgotten scenes while under hypnosis. The work was poorly received by the medical profession, and the two men soon separated over Freud's growing conviction that the undefined energy causing conversion was sexual in nature.

Freud then rejected hypnosis and devised a technique called free association (see association), which would allow emotionally charged material that the individual had repressed in the unconscious to emerge to conscious recognition. Further works, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900, tr. 1913), The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1904, tr. 1914), and Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905, tr. 1910), increased the bitter antagonism toward Freud, and he worked alone until 1906, when he was joined by the Swiss psychiatrists Eugen Bleuler and C. G. Jung, the Austrian Alfred Adler, and others.

In 1908, Bleuler, Freud, and Jung founded the journal Jahrbuch für psychoanalytische und psychopathologische Forschungen, and in 1909 the movement first received public recognition when Freud and Jung were invited to give a series of lectures at Clark Univ. in Worcester, Mass. In 1910 the International Psychoanalytical Association was formed with Jung as president, but the harmony of the movement was short-lived: between 1911 and 1913 both Jung and Adler resigned, forming their own schools in protest against Freud's emphasis on infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex. Although these men, and others who broke away later, objected to Freudian theories, the basic structure of psychoanalysis as the study of unconscious mental processes is still Freudian. Disagreement lies largely in the degree of emphasis placed on concepts largely originated by Freud.

He considered his last contribution to psychoanalytic theory to be The Ego and the Id (1923, tr. 1927), after which he reverted to earlier cultural preoccupations. Totem and Taboo (1913, tr. 1918), an investigation of the origins of religion and morality, and Moses and Monotheism (1939, tr. 1939) are the result of his application of psychoanalytic theory to cultural problems. With the National Socialist occupation of Austria, Freud fled (1938) to England, where he died the following year.

Freudian theory has had wide impact, influencing fields as diverse as anthropology, education, art, and literary criticism. His daughter, Anna Freud, was a major proponent of psychoanalysis, developing in particular the Freudian concept of the defense mechanism. Other works include A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (1910, tr. 1920) and New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-analysis (1933).



Bibliography

See his Basic Writings (tr. and ed. by A. A. Brill, 1938, repr., 1977); The Freud-Jung Letters, ed. by W. McGuire (1974, repr. 1988); biographies by E. Jones (3 vol., 1953—57, abr. ed. 1974) and P. Gay (1988); studies by H. Lewis (2 vol., 1981—83), S. Schneiderman (1987), O. Olson and S. Koppe (1988), I. Gubrich-Simitis (1993, tr. 1997), and L. Breger (2000).