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Psychodynamic Approach to Personality
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  1. Psychodynamic Approachto Personality Mr. Koch AP Psychology Forest Lake High School

  2. Psychodynamic Approach • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) • Austrian physician - treated patients with “neurotic” disorders (no physical cause) • Psychodynamic (psychoanalytic) theory • Personality is determined by interaction of various unconscious psychological processes • (Freud believed could access unconscious through various means – free association, dream analysis, “Freudian slips,” etc.)

  3. “Freudian Slips”

  4. “Freudian Slips”

  5. Personality Structure • Id • Unconscious portion of personality • Life instincts (Eros) • Positive, constructive behavior (esp. sex) and reflects energy called “libido” • Death instincts (Thanatos) • Responsible for aggression, destruction • Seeks immediate satisfaction (“pleasure principle”) • Ego • develops from id as parents, teachers, etc. place restrictions on id behavior • Mediates conflicts b/w demands of id, superego, real world • Operates on “reality principle” • Superego • Tells us what we should and should not do • Internalized rules and values of parents and society • As relentless, unreasonable in demands as id

  6. Defense Mechanisms • Unconscious tactics used by the ego to protect against anxiety & guilt (from id & superego) by preventing material from surfacing or disguising it when it does • Examples: repression, rationalization, projection, reaction formation, sublimination, displacement, denial, compensation, regression, etc.

  7. Psychosexual Stages of Development • Personality develops during childhood in series of stages, where we attempt to resolve certain conflicts • Failure to resolve conflict at a stage results in fixation – unconscious preoccupation with area of pleasure associated with stage • Affects adult personality characteristics

  8. Psychosexual Stages of Development • Oral Stage (1st year) • Mouth is center of pleasure at this stage • Fixation can come from weaning too early or late • Can result in adult characteristics like overeating, childlike dependence (late weaning), “biting” sarcasm (early weaning)

  9. Psychosexual Stages of Development • Anal Stage (2nd year) • Child’s ego develops to cope with parental/societal demands (toilet training clashes with freedom to “go” at will) • Fixation from toilet training too early or harsh → “anal retentiveness” or stinginess/excessive neatness (symbolically withholding feces) • Fixation from training too late/lax → disorganized, impulsive behavior (symbolically expelling feces)

  10. Psychosexual Stages of Development • Phallic Stage (ages 3-5 years) • Focus shifts to genital area • “Oedipus Complex” • Boy has sexual desire for mother and wants to eliminate father’s competition for her attention • Fear of castration from father leads ego to repress desires and “identify” with father – superego begins to develop

  11. Oedipus Complex?...

  12. Psychosexual Stages of Development • Phallic Stage (ages 3-5 years) • Focus shifts to genital area • “Oedipus Complex” • Boy has sexual desire for mother and wants to eliminate father’s competition for her attention • Fear of castration from father leads ego to repress desires and “identify” with father – superego begins to develop • “Electra Complex” • Girl develops attachment to father (due to “penis envy”) and competes with mother for attention • Girl identifies with and imitates mother to avoid disapproval – basis of superego • Fixation leads to difficulty dealing with authority figures, inability to maintain stable love relationships

  13. Psychosexual Stages of Development • Latency Period (childhood to puberty) • Peaceful interval where sexual impulses remain in background • Focus on education, same-sex peer play, develop social skills • Genital Stage (adolescence on) • Sexual impulses reappear at conscious level with genitals as focus