FREUD - FREUD Psychoanalytic theory Freud based his theory...

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FREUD: Psychoanalytic theory Freud based his theory of personality on case studies of several upper-class Viennese women that he was treating for various neuroses. Based on these case studies, he concluded that most of the human mind lies below the level of conscious experience—that is, in the unconscious. “Conscious” refers to anything we’re thinking about or experiencing at any given time. This is the smallest part of the mind. The “preconscious” is much larger and includes memories that are not part of current thought but can readily be brought to mind if the need arises. (Example: What you ate for breakfast this morning; the memory of your first kiss, etc.) The largest part of the human mind is the “unconscious,” which includes thoughts, desires, and impulses of which we are largely unaware. Freud believed that much of it was once conscious but has now been repressed (driven from consciousness) because it’s too anxiety-provoking. Things that are included in the unconscious are fears, unacceptable sexual desires, violent motives, irrational wishes, shameful experiences, immoral urges, and selfish needs. Of course, painful memories can also be pushed down into the unconscious. Structure of the personality : Freud believed that there are three structures to the personality: the id, the ego, and the superego. 1. The id basically has one purpose: to satisfy our desires. The id is completely unconscious and has no contact with reality. It operates according to the pleasure principle —it always seeks pleasure and avoids pain. Freud believed that the id is the only part of the personality present at birth. As the young child develops, he learns that he cannot eat 26 popsicles at once—sometimes he can’t even have one. He also learns he has to use the toilet instead of his diaper, etc. 2. As the child learns the constraints of reality, the ego develops. The ego abides by the reality principle —it’s goal is to bring the person pleasure but within the constraints of reality. It is the ego that helps us try to fulfill our sexual and aggressive impulses without getting into trouble. The ego is mostly conscious . It houses higher mental functions such as reasoning, problem-solving, and decision- making.
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3. The id and ego have no morality—they don’t take into account whether something is right or wrong. This is the function of the superego , the moral branch of personality. Basically, the superego is our conscience, and it can either reward or punish the ego. Like the id, the superego does not consider reality; it doesn’t deal with what is realistic, only with whether the id’s sexual and aggressive impulses can be satisfied in moral terms. The superego can operate at all levels of consciousness, but it’s mostly preconscious.
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  • Spring '13
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