Psychodynamic Perspective of Personality Chapter 12, pp. 511-515
Psychodynamic Perspective • Personality is a result of unconscious psychological conflicts and how effectively these are resolved. • The conflicts originate from childhood experiences when instinctive urges and society’s view of what is acceptable behaviour often clash.
Freud’s Theory • Observed patients, his family and his own thoughts, feelings and behaviour. • First developmental theory of Personality. • He not only attempted to explain how personality develops, but also how the development of personality occurs throughout the lifespan.
Freud’s Theory Believed that the mind is like an iceberg, most of it hidden below the surface. Most of the time, we experience only thoughts feelings and behaviour from the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Developed three levels of the human mind.
The Conscious Level The ‘Tip of the Iceberg” The conscious level is everything we are thinking, remembering, feeling, sensing or are aware of at this particular moment. Ideas and thoughts are constantly flowing in and out of the conscious mind. Eg. Your conscious awareness right now might be the words you are reading or hearing… or how tired you are...
The Preconscious Level • Just below the surface. • The preconscious contains information which we often say is at the ‘back of our mind’ and can be brought to the conscious mind by simply thinking about it. • Think about: What did you have for lunch yesterday? What did you learn last lesson? • You just moved these thoughts from your preconscious to your conscious level of awareness.
The Unconscious Level Deep below the surface. We are not aware of unconscious thoughts but they still have considerable influence of our conscious thoughts and feelings. It is a storage place in our mind for all the information about ourselves which is unacceptable to the conscious mind. It holds unacceptable thoughts, feelings, experiences, images, impulses, motives and ideas and they are buried. Freud believed that painful memories, frightening experiences and emotionally painful thoughts are held in the unconscious because they are very difficult to bring to our conscious thoughts.It is not a place for all memories but rather a place for ‘the skeletons in the closet’.
The Iceberg Theory Conscious Preconscious Unconscious
Activity 1. Iceberg Worksheet Part 1. Explanations Place the correct explanation statements in the space provided on the right hand side of the iceberg. Easily accessible information in the ‘back of the mind’ but not currently aware of it. Aware of this information at any time. Hidden and not immediately available. Labeling the Iceberg • In the space provided on the left hand side of the iceberg add the headings in their correct order: Preconscious Conscious Unconscious
Activity 1. Iceberg Worksheet Part 2 Consider these ‘thoughts’ and place them onto your Iceberg in the correct level, either conscious, preconscious or unconscious.
Freud’s Structure of Personality • Personality is fully developed by age 6 but we continue to refine and expand on this basic personality structure throughout the lifespan. • Freud believed that personality consists of 3 parts which pull an individual in different directions creating a conflict, they are called the id, ego and superego. • How we resolve this conflict determines most of our behaviour and shapes our personality.
Id. • The Id is a concept and it represents innate biological needs such as hunger, thirst, sleep and sex. • The Id is described as a force which is demanding, impulsive, irrational and an extremely selfish part of our personality. • Operates on a Pleasure Principle, it must have it’s needs met. • If our behaviour was completely controlled by our Id, we would have to have our own way all of the time!! • Freud believes that a newborn babies behaviour is completely dominated by their Id, they want everything immediately and must have their needs met.
Ego. • The Ego develops gradually when children begin to understand more about the how the real world operates, it is the part of personality which is realistic, logical and orderly. • Operates on the Reality Principle it tries to ensure the needs of the Id are met but in a socially acceptable way and at appropriate times. • Therefore the Ego considers ‘real-life’ restrictions in dealing with Id demands. • E.g. Imagine what would happen if people expressed their sexual impulses whenever they ‘popped into their mind’ regardless of where they are?
Superego. • The Superego is our conscience, always looking after us, judging our thoughts, feelings and actions based on societies morals and values. • Operates on the Moral Principle, providing us with ideas of right and wrong. • Gives us feeling of guilt for negative behaviour and pride for positive behaviour. Always aims for perfection. • The Superego’s main function is to block the Id and persuade the Ego to make moralistic decisions.
Summary • The Id is instinctive and Impulsive, exists in the unconscious. • The Ego is realistic and sensible, exists in the conscious and preconscious. • The Superego is idealistic and judgmental, exists across conscious, preconscious and unconscious.
Iceberg Worksheet EGO SUPEREGO ID
Activity 2. Role Play • Break into groups of 4-5. • Create a scenario, such as: Bobby is overweight and is on a diet. Some close friends invite him out for ice-cream. How would Bobby’s Id, Ego and Superego respond to the offer, and how would they persuade Bobby to behave at the Ice-cream parlor. • You will need 3 group members to ‘act’ as the Id, Ego and Superego and 1 member as narrator. • Act out what the Id, Ego and Superego would ‘say’ and ‘do’ in your scenario and how they might feel afterward. • Present your role plays to the class
Interaction between Id, Ego and Superego • The Ego often acts as a mediator between the Id and Superego. • If the Id is too strong it may develop a self-centered personality. • If the Ego is too strong it may develop a personality which is too practical and not spontaneous. • If the Superego is too strong it may develop a moralistic and judgmental personality. • However a balance between the Id, Ego and Superego will develop a balanced personality.
Reflection Which personality structure do you think is your strongest? What are the potential benefits and disadvantages of this?