Chapter five

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I.Sigmund Freud

A.The Life of Freud

1.Freud was born in Moravia in 1856. His father was a Jewish wool merchant. Since the age of five, Freud lived most of his life in Vienna, Austria. Freud had a passionate, sexual attachment towards his mother and childhood hostility towards his meek father. Many of his childhood experiences would influence his theories later in life. There were eight children in the family, but Sigmund had special privileges, such as his own room. Studying incessantly, Freud entered high school a year earlier and became fluent in several languages. Freud trained to be a physician and researched fish and eels. Freud also experimented with cocaine, before it became illegal. Freud unknowingly harmed a friend by prescribing cocaine and had used cocaine for himself.

2.Because Freud lacked an independent income, he entered private practice in Vienna. He studied with Jean Charcot in Paris and learned how to use the technique of hypnotism for the treatment of neurosis.

3.Freud became convinced that sexual conflicts were the primary cause of all neurosis. Freud claimed that childhood fantasies of sexual events were quite common for all children. Whether these memories are from true events or just sexual fantasies is controversial today.

4.Freud’s attitude toward sex was negative and felt that sex was degrading, because it contaminated the mind and body. Freud, although having children, felt resentful toward his sex life with his wife. Freud diagnosed himself, as having an anxiety neurosis as he learned to psychoanalyze himself through the study of dreams. He was able to recall his dreams and interpret their meanings.

5.Freud began to publish articles and books and he also presented papers at scientific meetings. His disciples or followers included Carl Jung and Alfred Adler. Jung later broke with Freud in disputing Freud’s approach to psychoanalysis. Freud received an honorary doctoral degree at Clark University in the United States in 1909, where his theories were warmly welcomed. By the 1920’s and 1930’s Freud was having much success, however he was to die several years later from cancer of the mouth. Freud’s books were burned by the Nazis and he fled to England where he died in 1939 by an overdose of morphine that was given deliberately by his physician.

B.Instincts: The Propelling Forces of the Personality

1.Instincts are the basic elements of the personality, the motivating forces that drive behavior and determine its direction. Instincts, such as hunger and thirst; are internal. These instincts motivate person to behave in a way that satisfies the need. When the body is in a state of need, we become motivated to restore and maintain equilibrium by satisfying the need. These instincts are the source of energy for human behavior, but this energy may be expressed in a variety of interests, preferences, and attitudes.

2.The life instincts are oriented toward growth and development and the psychic energy manifested by the life instincts is the libido. According to Freud, the most important life instinct is sex. Sex becomes our primary motivation, such as in erotic wishes. Death instincts are the opposite of life instincts and one component is the aggressive drive which compels us to destroy, conquer, and kill.

C.The Levels of Personality

1.There are two levels of personality, according to Freud. The conscious corresponds to its ordinary everyday meaning. The unconscious is the invisible portion of personality below the surface. The unconscious becomes the major driving power behind all behaviors and we are not able to control this portion.

D.The Structure of Personality: Id, Ego, and Superego

1.The id is the reservoir for the instincts and the libido. The id is powerful in the structure of personality because it supplies all the energy for the other two components. The id functions to increase pleasure and avoid pain, so id is driven by the pleasure principal.

2.The ego is the rational master of the personality and is driven by reality principal. The purpose of the id is to obtain tension reduction in the personality. The superego is the internal moral rules of conduct which forms our whether we are perceived as being good or bad. The superego is a powerful force in its quest of moral perfection.

E.Anxiety: A threat to the Ego

1.Freud described anxiety as an objectless fear to a specific object that induced it. When we cannot cope with anxiety, when we are in danger of being overwhelmed by it, the anxiety is said to be traumatic.

2.There are three types of anxiety. Reality or objective anxiety involves a fear of tangible dangers in the real world. Neurotic Anxiety has its basis in childhood, in a conflict between instinctual gratification and reality. The third type is Moral Anxiety which results from a conflict between the id and the superego. This is a fear of one’s conscience.

F.Defense Mechanisms Against Anxiety

1.If rational techniques to reduce tension do not work, then the person may resort to one or several defense mechanisms. Freud believed that defenses must, to some extent, always be in operation. These mechanisms deny or distort reality and operate unconsciously.

2.Repression is an involuntary removal of something from the conscious awareness. Denial is related to repression and involves denying the existence of some external threat or traumatic event that has occurred. One defense against a disturbing impulse is to actively express the opposite impulse, which is called reaction formation. Another way of defending against disturbing impulses is to attribute them to someone else. This is called projection. Regression is the defense mechanism where a person retreats or regresses to an earlier period of life that is pleasant and free of frustration and anxiety. Rationalization is a defense mechanism that involves reinterpreting our behavior to make it seem more rational and acceptable to us. If an object that satisfies an id impulse is not available, the person may shift the impulse to another object. This is displacement. Finally, sublimation involves the altering of the id impulses.

G.Psychosexual Stages of Personality Development

1.Each of these stages are defined by an erogenous zone of the body. In each developmental stage a conflict exists that must be resolved before the infant or child can progress to the next stage.

2.The Oral Stage lasts from birth until some time in the second year of life. This stage is where the infant’s principal source of pleasure is the mouth. Since the infant is in the primary care of the mother, the infant loves the mother and is satisfied. The anal stage begins about the age of 18 months, when a new demand, toilet training is involved. Defecation, Freud believed; produces erotic pleasure for the child, but with the onset of toilet training the infant has to delay this pleasurable act. In the fourth or fifth year, the phallic stage begins. The focus shifts from the anus to the genitals, where the child again has to control their impulse in manipulating their genitals. The Oedipus complex is used by Freud to describe a boy or girl who desires to have sexual relations with their opposite sex parent. The boy or girl sees the same sex parent as a rival for their affections, so they may become hostile or jealous of the parents’ love relationship. A girl would develop penis envy, because she believes she may have lost her penis. In castration anxiety, a boy would be afraid of losing his penis if the father was to discover the boy’s love for his mother. The latency period lasts for five or six years where the sex extinct is dormant. The final stage is the genital stage, which begins at puberty. In this stage, the adolescent must conform to social sanctions and taboos that exist concerning sexual expression, but conflict is minimized through sublimation.

H.Questions About Human Nature and Assessment in Freud’s Theory

1.In Freud’s system there is only one ultimate and necessary goal in Life: to reduce tension. Freud found little he liked about humanity.

2.Freud considered the unconscious to be the motivating force in life. He developed free association in which he would ask the patient express spontaneously every idea and image that came to the patient’s mind. Freud would then analyze and interpret these associations. Some memories might have been too painful to recall. Freud called these moments, resistances. Dream Analysis was used to assess what dreams represent, in symbolic form, along with repressed desires, fears, and conflicts.

I.Research in Freud’s Theory

1.Freud’s major research method was the case study. These types of studies are neither replicable nor generalizable to other people. Freud did not keep verbatim records of his therapy sessions, so the data may have been incomplete, consisting of what he last remembered. Some critics have suggested that Freud’s patients did not actually reveal childhood sexual experiences, because, in most cases, those experiences never occurred. Freud’s cases were restricted to young, unmarried, upper-class women of good education. Not a very broad sample of the population of his time.

2.Since Freud’s death, many of his ideas have been submitted to experimental testing. Some Freudian concepts—the id, ego, superego, death wish, libido, and anxiety could not be tested by the experimental method. Researchers found no evidence to support the psychosexual stages of development or a relationship between Oedipal variables and sexual difficulties later in life.

J.Extensions of Freudian Theory

1.Anna Freud was Sigmund’s youngest and most favored daughter. At age 22, Anna began four years of psychoanalysis conducted by her father. He was later criticized for analyzing his own daughter. For to analyze one’s child was a serious violation of Freud’s rules for the practice of psychoanalysis. She devoted her life to her father and his system of psychoanalysis. Anna worked with children, expanded the role of the ego, and argued that the ego operates independently of the id. Anna Freud clarified the operation of the defense mechanisms, which may be her most significant contribution to psychoanalysis.

2.Object relations theories focus more on interpersonal relationships than on instinctual drives. They place particular emphasis on the mother-child relationship, suggesting that the core of personality is formed at infancy. The object relations theorist also see as critical the emergence in the early years a strong sense of self and the maturing of relations with objects other than the mother. Heinz Kohut’s interest is on the formation of the nuclear self, which he described as the foundation for becoming an independent person. Melanie Klein formulated a system of personality development that focused on the intense emotional relationship between infant and mother. Emphasizing the first 5 to 6 months of a child’s life, Klein assumed babies are born with active fantasy lives that harbor mental representations (images) of Freudian id instincts, which the images temporarily satisfy. Margaret Mahler, a pediatrician, observed the relationship that developed between the infant and mother. She argued that newborns are incapable of distinguishing between themselves and everything else that is not themselves. The infant must learn how to separate from the mother which involves psychic energy in interpersonal or object relationships rather than the sexual energy that Freud proposed.

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