Psychoanalytic Approach

By: Anam Habib

Freud’s theory of personality was the first major personality theory that also focused on children. Sigmund Freud was born on 6 May, 1856. Freud was very intelligent even as a child. Freud was really found of his mother as a child; she was beautiful and loving lady, and she always took pride in Freud. On the other hand, Freud’s father was strict and very authoritarian. Freud felt hostality, hatered and rage towards his father as a child. These kind of feelings later affect his theories.

In his lifetime, he was a physiologist, medical doctor, psychologist, and an influential thinker of the earlier 20th century. Freud was a very influential person in the field of Psychology. Freud worked with many influential psychologists, and one of them was Joseph Breur. He and Freud worked together with a patient name Anna O. (Bretha Pappenheim) in 1892. According to Breur, Anna suffered from hysteria after the death of his father. In order to treat her, Freud used treatment that involved hypnosis through which he came up with the idea of free assiciation. Free association is the idea that patient talk about things that come to their mind, or something that is realated to their past.

In 1896, Freud first used the term of Psychoanalysis, which is a theraputic approach that uses techniques as free asscociation in which the main focus is the client and his/her thoughts. Freud believed that the mind is divided into three different parts: unconscious, preconscious and conscious. According to Freud, concious is the part of pur mind that corresponds to everyday life. It includes sensations, feelings and experiences that we are aware of. Unconscious is large invisible portion that is home to one’s wishes and desires. Between the conscious and unconscious is a part that’s called preconscious. Freud believed that preconscious is the storehouse of one’s memories, perceptions and thoughts that one is not consciously aware of, however, it canbe easily summon into consciousness.

In 1900, he published The Interpretation of Dreams which is often considered to be one of his most important books. Freud believed that dream analysis is an important for understanding psychic life. According to Freud, our dreams represents our desires and wishes which comes from the id part of our personality.


He furthered narrowed an individual’s personality. Freud believed that unconscious part of mind is the center to one’s personality. Accroding to Freud, there are three parts to our personality within our mind: id, ego and superego. Freud describes Id as totally unconscious that hold our desires, needs and wants; and if those desires, needs and wants are not met, then it can result in anxiety and tension. Ego is part of the personality that deals with demands and reality. According to Freud, ego is developed from id, and it expresses the desires, needs and wants from id in a way that can be acceptable in a real world. Unlike id, ego functions in unconscious, preconscious and conscious.  The third part of personality is superego. Like ego, superego also function in unconscious, preconscious and conscious. Freud believed that superego emerges around the age of 5, and it deals with the sense of right and wrong.

In order to describe how personality develops through one’s lifetime, he proposed ideas that outraged scholors at that time and outrages some even today.  He came up with the personality developmental theory called Psychosexual Development.


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