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(a.) Psychoanalytic theory

(i.) Originator. Sigmund Freud is the father of Psychoanalytic Theory. The focus of psychoanalytic theory is resolving unconscious conflicts from the past. View of human nature. One’s behavior is determined by irrational forces, unconscious motivation, and biological and instinctive drives, as they evolve through key psycho sexual stages of development. Freud believed that the mind is made up of three forces, which interact with each other in order for us to make decisions. He also believed that these three forces are in conflict with each other. The three forces, described below, are the Id, Ego, and Superego. The Id is the primitive part of the personality. Freud believed that at birth the child is all id. The id is the unconscious part of our personality and operates on the pleasure principle, whose goal is to gain pleasure and avoid pain. The Ego is the conscious part of our personality that operates on the reality principle, the realistic and logical part of the personality. The goal of the ego is to take care of id impulses without harming the superego.

  • The Superego is the conscience, a person’s moral code; the part of
  • the personality that is aware of right and wrong; the judicial part of the personality; the internalization of the moral standards of parents and society. Freud believed that when something is threatening to our ego, anxiety occurs and we instinctively develop defense mechanisms to cope with the anxiety and relieve or block emotional pain. Some of the defense mechanisms include the following:

  • Denial is pretending that something that is true is not true.
  • Repression is involuntary removal of threatening thoughts,
  • experiences, and feelings from our consciousness. Freud believed that many of our painful experiences of the first 5 years of our lives are repressed, buried in our unconscious minds.

    Projection is attributing to another what you are actually experiencing. This unconsciously allows one to avoid dealing with his/her own experiences. Rationalizing is making excuses for unacceptable behavior. This allows one to avoid the pain of the behavior. Minimizing is the unconscious process of making problems seem less severe than they actually are. Compensation is developing positive traits to unconsciously mask weaknesses and mistakes. Goal of psychoanalytic therapy. To bring material from the unconscious mind to the conscious awareness so that one can change (insight); to work through unresolved issues from various psycho sexual stages of development.

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