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Mateo, Ira Janine C.

BS Psychology 2

August 25, 2015

1:30-2:30 PM TTHS GD410

Psychodynamic Perspective of Sigmund Freud

In the early 20th century, famed psychologist Sigmund Freud proposed the idea that our personalities are
shaped and motivated by subconscious and conscious forces, with a strong influence from childhood
experiences. Through psychoanalysis, an insight-oriented therapy that aims to bring up and confront forgotten
hurts, unfulfilled desires and frustrations, Freud thought that psychologists could resolve dysfunction in one's
current life. This technique of unveiling the psychological forces that influence human personality and
functioning became to be known as the psychodynamic approach in psychology. This lesson will discuss
Freud's breakdown of the components of one's personality, examine his ideas on stages of psychosexual
development and look at how our personalities use defense mechanisms.
Parts of the Psyche: The Id, ego and Superego
Freud proposed that our psyche, which can be defined in many ways - our thoughts, feelings, mind, selfperception and personality -, is composed of three elements: the ego (which represents our conscious thoughts),
the superego (which represents our social conscience) and the id (which represents our subconscious, pleasureseeking, inner desires). Think of our psyche, as described by Freud, as an iceberg adrift in the sea. While we can
see the ego and superego above the surface of the water, the largest part of who we are is hidden away
underneath within the inky depths of our subconscious.
The id isn't logical or reasonable, the ego tries to satisfy the id in a safe manner and the superego keeps track of
our guilt and social norms. I like to think of it within the context of seeing the dessert cart roll up at a nice
restaurant, loaded with gorgeous piles of sweet calories and unhealthy dining. We've all seen these, yes? The
ego says, 'Well, I can have one small slice or maybe share one with my friend. That won't be unhealthy.' The
superego says, 'A moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips!' For some reason my superego sounds like a
personal trainer. And the id says, 'Give me the entire cart! Hulk eat! Nom nom nom!' You get the idea. The
battle between these three forces in the subconscious of our psyche defines us.
Stages of Psychosexual Development
Freud was an advocate of the idea that the primary force of energy in our psyche was the libido, an energy
created by survival and sexual needs below the level of conscious thought. This libido is constantly seeking
satisfaction of the desires to be safe and experience pleasure, but as we grow older, the need to control our basic
wants and needs comes into conflict with the rampaging id.
According to Freud, there are five stages of psychosexual development:
1. Oral stage (birth to 18 months)
2. Anal stage (18 months to three years)
3. Phallic stage (three to six years)
4. Latency stage (six years to puberty)
5. Genital stage (puberty and beyond)

As we go through these stages, we develop new conflicts and open the potential for unresolved issues that
impact our future happiness and functionality. Freud proposed that over-gratification or under-gratification
during one of these stages could lead to fixations during adulthood. Let's look at a few examples.
Oral Stage
Have you ever seen a baby who didn't want to put whatever it could get its hands on into its mouth? This natural
desire could become over-gratified (possibly through too much use of the famous 'binky,' or too frequent
feedings) and thus as an adult this desire is still strong, leading to oral fixation in adult behaviors such as finger
nail biting and/or chewing, hair chewing, overeating and even smoking.
Anal Stage
Children are pleased by relieving themselves in their diapers. But during potty training time, along come mom
and dad to take away that pleasure and require the child to control his or her pleasure until they can use the
potty. This war over the control of pleasure can result in a subconscious desire to control other factors in one's
life. Thus, anal retentive behavior can result as an adult.
Defense Mechanisms
According to Freud, the ego develops strategies to defend you from daily conflicts that may cause stress or
anxiety due to your id's desires and your superego's attempts to control those desires. These protective strategies
are called defense mechanisms. Here are a few common defense mechanisms.

Repression: You push guilty or threatening thoughts into the basement of the subconscious.

Denial: You don't like certain information, so you refuse to take it seriously and instead ignore it.

Projection: You attribute certain feelings, desires or impulses to other people rather than seeing it in

Displacement: You transfer desires or impulses to someone or something else.

Sublimation: You transfer desires or impulses into a form that is socially acceptable.

Psychodynamic Perspective in Modern Psychology

While there are those who still believe that Freudian concepts are a powerful tool to understanding and
explaining human behavior, there are many criticisms leveled by modern experts in the field of psychology. The
greatest weakness, according to some, is that Freud's theories offer no insights into predicting behavior, which is
one of the primary goals of modern psychology. There are those who find little evidence that psychoanalysis
actually helps people to change behavior either, again, a primary goal of modern psychology.
We have to remember that Freud's concepts are the result of living in a male-dominated, turn-of-the-century
world in which scientific rigor in the psychological field was still being developed. Many question his methods
of research as well as the conclusions.

Ecological Perspective of Urie Bronfenbrenner

One final developmental theory needs to be addressed, even though it's not a stage theory. Urie
Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005) developed the ecological systems theory to explain how everything in a child and
the child's environment affects how a child grows and develops. He labeled different aspects or levels of the
environment that influence children's development, including the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem,
and the macrosystem. The microsystem is the small, immediate environment the child lives in. Children's
microsystems will include any immediate relationships or organizations they interact with, such as their
immediate family or caregivers and their school or daycare. How these groups or organizations interact with the
child will have an effect on how the child grows; the more encouraging and nurturing these relationships and
places are, the better the child will be able to grow. Furthermore, how a child acts or reacts to these people in the
microsystem will affect how they treat her in return. Each child's special genetic and biologically influenced
personality traits, what is known as temperament, end up affecting how others treat them. This idea will be
discussed further in a later document about child temperament.
Bronfenbrenner's next level, the mesosystem, describes how the different parts of a child's microsystem
work together for the sake of the child. For example, if a child's caregivers take an active role in a child's
school, such as going to parent-teacher conferences and watching their child's soccer games, this will help
ensure the child's overall growth. In contrast, if the child's two sets of caretakers, mom with step-dad and dad
with step-mom, disagree how to best raise the child and give the child conflicting lessons when they see him,
this will hinder the child's growth in different channels.
The exosystem level includes the other people and places that the child herself may not interact with
often her but that still have a large effect on her, such as parents' workplaces, extended family members, the
neighborhood, etc. For example, if a child's parent gets laid off from work, that may have negative effects on the
child if her parents are unable to pay rent or to buy groceries; however, if her parent receives a promotion and a
raise at work, this may have a positive effect on the child because her parents will be better able to give her
physical needs.
Bronfenbrenner's final level is the macrosystem, which is the largest and most remote set of people and things
to a child but which still has a great influence over the child. The macrosystem includes things such as the
relative freedoms permitted by the national government, cultural values, the economy, wars, etc. These things
can also affect a child either positively or negatively.

Gutay, Hannah Jane M.

August 25, 2015

BS Psych 2

1:30-2:30 PM TTHS GD410

Psychodynamic Perspective of Sigmund Freud

Many psychologists have proposed theories that try to explain the origins of personality. One highly influential set of theories
stems from the work of Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, who first proposed the theory of psychoanalysis. Collectively,
these theories are known as psychodynamic theories. Although many different psychodynamic theories exist, they all
emphasize unconscious motives and desires, as well as the importance of childhood experiences in shaping personality.

Sigmund Freuds Theory of Psychoanalysis

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Freud developed a technique that he called psychoanalysis and used it to treat mental
disorders. He formed his theory of psychoanalysis by observing his patients. According to psychoanalytic theory, personalities
arise because of attempts to resolve conflicts between unconscious sexual and aggressive impulses and societal demands to
restrain these impulses.

The Conscious, the Preconscious, and the Unconscious

Freud believed that most mental processes are unconscious. He proposed that people have three levels of awareness:

The conscious contains all the information that a person is paying attention to at any given time.

Example: The words Dan is reading, the objects in his field of vision, the sounds he can hear, and any thirst, hunger, or pain he
is experiencing at the moment are all in his conscious.

The preconscious contains all the information outside of a persons attention but readily available if needed.

Example: Lindas telephone number, the make of her car, and many of her past experiences are in her preconscious.

The unconscious contains thoughts, feelings, desires, and memories of which people have no awareness but that
influence every aspect of their day-to-day lives.

Example: Stans unconscious might contain angry feelings toward his mother or a traumatic incident he experienced at age
Freud believed that information in the unconscious emerges in slips of the tongue, jokes, dreams, illness symptoms, and the
associations people make between ideas.
The Freudian Slip
Cathy calls up her mother on Mothers Day and says, Youre the beast, Mom, when she consciously intended to say, Youre
the best, Mom. According to psychoanalytic theory, this slip of the tongue, known as a Freudian slip, reveals her unconscious
anger toward her mother.

The Id, the Ego, and the Superego

Freud proposed that personalities have three components: the id, the ego, and the superego.

Id: a reservoir of instinctual energy that contains biological urges such as impulses toward survival, sex, and
aggression. The id is unconscious and operates according to the pleasure principle, the drive to achieve pleasure and
avoid pain. The id is characterized by primary process thinking, which is illogical, irrational, and motivated by a desire
for the immediate gratification of impulses.

Ego: the component that manages the conflict between the id and the constraints of the real world. Some parts of the
ego are unconscious, while others are preconscious or conscious. The ego operates according to the reality principle, the
awareness that gratification of impulses has to be delayed in order to accommodate the demands of the real world. The
ego is characterized by secondary process thinking, which is logical and rational. The egos role is to prevent the id
from gratifying its impulses in socially inappropriate ways.

Superego: the moral component of personality. It contains all the moral standards learned from parents and society.
The superego forces the ego to conform not only to reality but also to its ideals of morality. Hence, the superego causes
people to feel guilty when they go against societys rules. Like the ego, the superego operates at all three levels of

Freud believed that the id, the ego, and the superego are in constant conflict. He focused mainly on conflicts concerning sexual
and aggressive urges because these urges are most likely to violate societal rules.

Internal conflicts can make a person feel anxious. In Freuds view, anxiety arises when the ego cannot adequately balance the
demands of the id and the superego. The id demands gratification of its impulses, and the superego demands maintenance of its
moral standards.

Defense Mechanisms
To manage these internal conflicts, people use defense mechanisms. Defense mechanisms are behaviors that protect people
from anxiety. There are many different kinds of defense mechanisms, many of which are automatic and unconscious:

Repression: keeping unpleasant thoughts, memories, and feelings shut up in the unconscious.

Example: Nate witnessed his mother being beaten by a mugger when he was seven years old. As an adult, he does not
remember this incident.

Reaction formation: behaving in a way that is opposite to behavior, feelings, or thoughts that are considered

Example: Lisa feels sexually attracted to her roommates boyfriend but does not admit this to herself. Instead, she constantly
makes very disparaging comments about the boyfriend and feels disgusted by the way he acts.

Projection: attributing ones own unacceptable thoughts or feelings to someone else.

Example: Mario feels angry toward his father but is not aware of it. Instead, he complains that he cannot be around his father
because his father is such an angry man.

Rationalization: using incorrect but self-serving explanations to justify unacceptable behavior, thoughts, or feelings.

Example: Sylvia runs a red light while driving. She justifies this by telling herself she was already in the intersection when the
light changed to red.

Displacement: transferring feelings about a person or event onto someone or something else.

Example: Seth is angry at his professor for giving him a bad grade. He leaves class and shouts angrily at a passerby who
accidentally bumps into him.

Denial: refusing to acknowledge something that is obvious to others.

Example: Kates use of alcohol starts to affect her academic performance, her job, and her relationships. However, she insists
that she drinks only to relieve stress and that she does not have an alcohol problem.

Regression: reverting to a more immature state of psychological development.

Example: When six-year-old Jameel gets less attention from his parents because of a new baby brother, he suddenly starts to
wet his bed at night.

Sublimation: channeling unacceptable thoughts and feelings into socially acceptable behavior.

Example: Priya deals with her angry feelings toward her family by writing science-fiction stories about battles between

Psychosexual Stages of Development

Freud believed that personality solidifies during childhood, largely before age five. He proposed five stages of psychosexual
development: the oral stage, the anal stage, the phallic stage, the latency stage, and the genital stage. He believed that at each
stage of development, children gain sexual gratification, or sensual pleasure, from a particular part of their bodies. Each stage
has special conflicts, and childrens ways of managing these conflicts influence their personalities.
If a childs needs in a particular stage are gratified too much or frustrated too much, the child can become fixated at that stage of
development. Fixation is an inability to progress normally from one stage into another. When the child becomes an adult, the
fixation shows up as a tendency to focus on the needs that were over-gratified or over-frustrated.

Freuds Psychosexual Stages of Development

Oral stage

Sources of pleasure
Result of fixation
Birth to roughly Activities involving the Excessive smoking, overeating, or
twelve months
mouth, such as sucking, dependence on others
biting, and chewing

Anal stage

Age two, when the Bowel movements

child is being toilet
Phallic stage Age three to five
The genitals
LatencyStag Age five to puberty Sexuality is latent, or
dormant, during this period
Genital stage Begins at puberty
The genitals; sexual urges
Oedipus Complex

An overly controlling (anal-retentive)

personality or an easily angered (analexpulsive) personality
Guilt or anxiety about sex
No fixations at this stage
No fixations at this stage

Freud believed that the crucially important Oedipus complex also developed during the phallic stage. The Oedipus complex
refers to a male childs sexual desire for his mother and hostility toward his father, whom he considers to be a rival for his
mothers love. Freud thought that a male child who sees a naked girl for the first time believes that her penis has been cut off.
The child fears that his own father will do the same to him for desiring his mothera fear called castration anxiety. Because
of this fear, the child represses his longing for his mother and begins to identify with his father. The childs acceptance of his
fathers authority results in the emergence of the superego.
During his lifetime, Freud had many followers who praised his theory, but his ideas, particularly his emphasis on childrens
sexuality, also drew criticism. Some of Freuds followers broke away from him because of theoretical disagreements and
proposed their own theories. These theorists are called neo-Freudians. Some important neo-Freudians were Carl Jung, Alfred
Adler, and object-relations theorists.

Ecological Perspective of Urie Bronfenbrenner

Otherwise known as the Human Ecology Theory, the Ecological Systems theory states that human development
is influenced by the different types of environmental systems. Formulated by famous psychologist Urie
Bronfenbrenner, this theory helps us understand why we may behave differently when we compare our behavior
in the presence of our family and our behavior when we are in school or at work.
The Five Environmental Systems
The ecological systems theory holds that we encounter different environments throughout our lifespan that may
influence our behavior in varying degrees. These systems include the micro system, the mesosystem, the
exosystem, the macro system, and the chronosystem.
1. The Micro System
The micro system's setting is the direct environment we have in our lives. Your family, friends, classmates,
teachers, neighbors and other people who have a direct contact with you are included in your micro system. The

micro system is the setting in which we have direct social interactions with these social agents. The theory states
that we are not mere recipients of the experiences we have when socializing with these people in the micro
system environment, but we are contributing to the construction of such environment.
2. The Mesosystem
The mesosytem involves the relationships between the microsystems in one's life. This means that your family
experience may be related to your school experience. For example, if a child is neglected by his parents, he may
have a low chance of developing positive attitude towards his teachers. Also, this child may feel awkward in the
presence of peers and may resort to withdrawal from a group of classmates.
3. The Exosystem
The exosystem is the setting in which there is a link between the context where in the person does not have any
active role, and the context where in is actively participating. Suppose a child is more attached to his father than
his mother. If the father goes abroad to work for several months, there may be a conflict between the mother and
the child's social relationship, or on the other hand, this event may result to a tighter bond between the mother
and the child.
4. The Macrosystem
The macrosystem setting is the actual culture of an individual. The cultural contexts involve the socioeconomic
status of the person and/or his family, his ethnicity or race and living in a still developing or a third world
country. For example, being born to a poor family makes a person work harder every day.
5. The Chronosystem
The chronosystem includes the transitions and shifts in one's lifespan. This may also involve the socio-historical
contexts that may influence a person. One classic example of this is how divorce, as a major life transition, may
affect not only the couple's relationship but also their children's behavior. According to a majority of research,
children are negatively affected on the first year after the divorce. The next years after it would reveal that the
interaction within the family becomes more stable and agreeable.
Value of the Theory
This theory, published in 1979, has influenced many psychologists in terms of the manner of analyzing the
person and the effects of different environmental systems that he encounters. The ecological systems theory has
since become an important theory that became a foundation of other theorists' work.