Individual Psychoanalytic Personality Assessment| Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word paper analyzing the components of the psychoanalytic approach to personality. Your paper should cover the following areas: * Compare and contrast the psychoanalytic theories of Freud, Jung, and Adler. What are two characteristics of these theories with which you agree? What are two characteristics with which you disagree? * Describe the stages of Freud’s theory and explain characteristics of personality using these components. Describe uses of at least three Freudian defense mechanisms with real-life examples. Include an introduction and conclusion in your paper. Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines. | 8/31/11 by 6pm| 12| FIRST QUESTION Adler’s Differences with Freudian Theory In 1902, Adler was one of those invited to attend some small, casual seminars with Freud. Although his views were somewhat different from those of the Freudian psychoanalysts, he remained a member of the group for a number of years.
But by 1911, the disagreements between Freud and Adler had become heated and emotionally intense; Adler resigned from his position as president of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society (as the group had come to be called) and ended all contact with it. The debates with the domineering Freud and other members of the group had, however, helped Adler think through his own emerging theory of personality. He soon started his own society, called the Society for Free Psychoanalysis (later changed to the Society for Individual Psychology).
One of the central ways in which Adler’s views differed from those of Freud was the emphasis each placed on the origin of motivation. For Freud, the prime motivators were pleasure (remember that the id operates on the so-called pleasure principle) and sexuality. For Adler, human motivations were much more complex. Adler’s Individual Psychology Adler called his theory Individual Psychology because he firmly believed in the unique motivations of individuals and the importance of each person’s perceived niche in society.
Like Jung, he firmly proclaimed the importance of the teleological aspects, or goal-directedness, of human nature. Another major, and related, difference in their philosophies was that Adler, much more concerned than Freud with social conditions, saw the need to take preventive measures to avoid disturbances in personality. Striving for Superiority For Adler (1930), a central core of personality is the striving for superiority. When people have an overwhelming sense of helplessness or experience some event that leaves them powerless, they are likely to feel inferior.
If these feelings become pervasive, an inferiority complex may develop. An inferiority complex takes normal feelings of incompetence and exaggerates them, making the individual feel as if it is impossible to achieve goals and therefore hopeless to try. Take the case of David, who has never done very well in school. He’s not a terrible student, but beside the honor-roll records and academic accomplishments of his two siblings, his record looks paltry. Over time, he has developed an inferiority complex—an uncomfortable sense of being dull, even inferior to his brother and sister.
An individual struggling to overcome such a complex might fabricate a superiority complex as a way of maintaining a sense of self-worth, and in fact this is what David has done. If you were to meet him for the first time, you wouldn’t guess that there was an “inferior” bone in his body. He appears to have a very high opinion of himself—always bragging and quick to argue that his solution to a problem is the right one. If you look a bit deeper, though, you see that this exaggerated arrogance is really an overcompensation for what David believes he lacks; he has developed a superiority complex as a way of counteracting the inferiority he feels.
He is trying to convince others and himself that he is valuable after all. Unfortunately for David, superiority complexes are usually perceived as obnoxious by others, and he is therefore likely to be treated with reserve or even distaste when he exhibits his overbearing attitude. This rejection in turn might increase his inner feelings of worthlessness, leading to even more aggressive compensation—and a maddening spiral has begun. As the satirist Ambrose Bierce put it in The Devil’s Dictionary (1911), an egotist is “A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. The Evolution of Adler’s Theory Adler’s theory underwent a series of changes as his thoughts about human motivations changed. The first concept he described was that of organ inferiority—the idea that everyone is born with some physical weakness. It is at this “weak link,” says Adler, that incapacity or disease is most likely to take root, and so the body attempts to make up for the deficiency in another area. He contended that these infirmities (and perhaps more important, individual reactions to them) were important motivators of people’s life choices.
A short time later, Adler added the concept of the aggression drive to his model. He believed that drives could be either directly effective or reversed into an opposite drive (similar to a Freudian defense mechanism). Aggression was particularly important to Adler because he believed it was a reaction to perceived helplessness or inferiority—a lashing out against the inability to achieve or master something. Adler’s next step was what he termed the masculine protest. He did not mean, however, that only boys experienced this phenomenon.
During that period in history, it was culturally and socially acceptable to use the words femininity and masculinity as metaphors for inferiority and superiority. Adler believed that all children, by virtue of their relatively powerless and dependent position in the social order, were markedly feminine and that both boys and girls experience this masculine protest, in an effort to become independent from and eventually equal to the adults and people of power in their little worlds. Masculine protest is an individual’s attempt to be competent and independent—autonomous, rather than merely an outgrowth of one’s parents.
Sometimes, striving for superiority can be healthy, if it involves a positive assertiveness. Carl G. Jung and Selfhood History abounds with stories in which the crown prince or successor has a bitter falling out with the king or the board chair. Take, for example, the biblical account of Absalom’s treason against his father, King David. Even if you are not familiar with the story, you can probably correctly guess many of its components. You might guess that King David was a wise and good ruler who tried to do what was right.
You might also guess that Absalom was a spoiled and greedy son who became so enchanted with the idea of having power and riches that he was willing to betray his own father in order to obtain these things for him. (You would be correct on both counts. ) Why is it that themes like this spring so easily to mind? Why is such a scenario so easy to imagine? Carl Jung believed that we are preprogrammed to see and accept certain truths not only because of our own past experiences but also because of the cumulative past experiences of our ancestors.
The story of David and Absalom has repeated itself over and over again through the centuries. But not all of the stories are so extreme. The next time you are flipping through TV channels, look at the lineup on many of the talk shows: children feuding with parents and stepparents, employees sniping in bitter antagonism against their bosses, and “followers” denouncing their gurus and stepping out to become leaders and champions of their own causes. This pattern was also true of Freud and Jung, with Carl Jung (Freud’s “crown prince”) providing the key initial break with Freudian orthodoxy.
Background to Jung’s Approach Jung’s Childhood Carl Gustav Jung was born in July 1875, in Kesswil, Switzerland. He grew up in a religious home; his father, the Reverend Paul Jung, was a country minister, and his mother, Emilie, was a minister’s daughter. Jung’s theories of personality were unique, and their roots can be traced to thoughts and experiences from his childhood. In particular, two childhood themes would later become the basis for his theory of personality.
The first was his belief that he was, in fact, two different personalities: he was both (1) the child that he outwardly appeared to be and (2) a wise and cultured gentleman of the previous century. Jung was an introverted and withdrawn child who spent much time alone, in solitary play and contemplation. He would often sit on a large stone in his garden and focus on two ideas: that he was a boy sitting on a stone and that he was a stone being sat upon by a boy. His ability to take the perspective of the rock gave him the idea that he might actually have more than one form of being.
This notion seemed to solidify when the father of a friend chastised him for a misdeed. As he was being scolded, he suddenly felt indignant that this man should be treating him in such a way. He was an important and distinguished person who should be respected and admired. At the same time, he was aware that he was also a naughty child, presently being reprimanded by an adult. The second, and closely related, theme from Jung’s childhood was that the visions and dreams he often experienced were not unimportant coincidences, but instead were valuable communications of information from the realm of the paranormal.
This idea would later form the basis for his concept of the collective unconscious. Around the age of 10, Jung carved for himself a small wooden mannequin, carefully dressed it in homemade attire, and hid it, along with a small painted stone, in the attic of his house. Thinking of this mannequin and stone hidden away secretly together was pleasurable for Jung and somehow had the ability to calm him when he became distressed. He would also write coded messages on little scrolls of paper, to be tucked away with the mannequin—a sort of furtive library for its pleasure (Jung, 1961a).
Beginnings of Jung’s Theory It wasn’t until years later, while doing research for a book, that Jung read about “soul stones” (located near Arlesheim) and some of the ancient monumental statue-gods. As he read, he easily formed a mental picture of the stones and statues because they were very similar to his painted stone and mannequin of childhood. He had never before seen pictures of these objects, nor had he read about them (he checked his father’s library to be sure), yet he had created them for himself as a young child.
These occurrences indicated to him that there were certain psychic elements that are common from generation to generation, passed through an unconscious channel. Jung studied medicine at the University of Basel, and it was here that he became interested in psychiatry. He graduated in 1900, the same year that Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams was published. Jung read this book and in 1906 began a correspondence with Freud. The two quickly became mutual admirers, and by April 1907, it was clear that Freud had chosen Jung as his protege to carry on the psychoanalytic tradition.
Although things went smoothly for a time, Jung believed that the goals and motivations of individuals were just as important in determining their life courses as were their sexual urges. He had come to believe in the existence of universal archetypes (emotional symbols), which he recognized over and over in his conversations with patients. While Freud believed that personality was largely fixed by middle childhood, Jung preferred to look at personality in terms of its goals and future orientation. Eventually, the rift between these two pillars of psychological thought grew to the extent that a parting of ways seemed the nly answer. They went their separate directions in 1913, after which Jung withdrew to the privacy of his home for a period of solitude and introspection that lasted for several years. During this time, he searched himself deeply, getting to know the individual components of his psyche. When this period ended, he was firmer than ever in his belief that the basic tenets of his theory were universally valid. To distinguish his theory from that of Freudian psychoanalytic theory, he called it analytic psychology.
Carl Jung’s (1875–1961) analytic psychology was less sexually focused, more historically oriented, and more attuned to the spiritual and supernatural than Freud’s psychoanalytic psychology. Jung was very open to alternative ideas. When he conducted a psychoanalysis of Christiana Morgan, an upper-class “free spirit” (who served as a kind of erotic muse), he was so taken that he came to view her as the quintessential “anima” (the feminine spirit), and he encouraged her to engage in a scandalous affair with Harvard personologist Henry Murray (with whom she helped develop the TAT) (Douglas, 1993; Robinson, 1992).
Jung’s Analytic Psychology According to Jungian theory, the mind or psyche is divided into three parts: (1) the conscious ego, (2) the personal unconscious, and (3) the collective unconscious. The Conscious Ego Jung’s ego is quite similar in scope and meaning to Freud’s. It is the aspect of personality that is conscious, and it embodies the sense of self. (Jung believed that this personal identity, or ego, developed around age four. ) The Personal Unconscious Jung’s second component of the mind, the personal unconscious, contains thoughts and feelings that are not currently part of conscious awareness.
Thoughts from the personal unconscious can be accessed, however. The personal unconscious contains thoughts and urges that are simply unimportant at present as well as those that have been actively repressed because of their ego-threatening nature. For example, when you are in psychology class you are not thinking about last night’s date (we hope). That information has not been repressed; it’s just not relevant at the moment. The person sitting next to you might harbor deep resentment and animosity toward a sibling because of extensive past rivalries and yet belong to a family in which love for family is of paramount importance.
This individual might repress these resentments because they threaten her ability to view herself as a “good” person. Both of these thoughts and urges are considered to be part of the personal unconscious by Jung. Jung also saw the personal unconscious as containing both past (retrospective) and future (prospective) material. This grew from the observation that many of his patients experienced dreams that were related to future issues and events. It is not that they “see” the future, but rather they sense things that are likely to happen. Further, the personal unconscious serves to compensate (balance) conscious attitudes and ideas.
That is, if a person’s conscious views are very one-sided, the personal unconscious may accentuate the opposing viewpoint through dreams or other means, in an attempt to restore some sort of equilibrium (Jung, 1961b, 1990). (Happiness would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. ) Modern research confirms that there are such automatic mental processes outside of conscious attention that influence how we react to others in particular situations and how we pursue our goals (Bargh & Williams, 2006). For example, if we have been thinking about our friends or we are in a good mood, we are more likely to behave altruistically.
The Collective Unconscious Did you ever have the feeling of deja vu—that you have previously experienced something that you, in actuality, have not seen before? The third component of the psyche was termed the collective unconscious by Jung. Perhaps the most controversial, it comprises a deeper level of unconsciousness and is made up of powerful emotional symbols called archetypes. These images are common to all people and have been formed from the beginnings of human time (that is, they are “transpersonal” rather than personal or individual).
These archetypes are derived from the emotional reactions of our ancestors to continually repeating events, such as the rising and setting of the sun, the changing of the seasons, and repeating interpersonal relationships such as mother–child. The presence of such archetypes or emotional patterns predisposes us to react in predictable ways to common, recurring stimuli. Jung described many different archetypes, including the hero, the wise old man, the trickster, and the shadow, all of which clearly appear in popular ovies such as the Star Wars films (with the wise old Obi-Wan Kenobi, the demonic Darth Vader, the hero Luke, and so on). The following are descriptions of some of his best-known archetypes (see also Table 4. 1). Table 4. 1 Jung’s Archetypes and Modern Symbols Archetype| Examples| Magician (or Trickster)| Sorcerer, wizard, clairvoyant| Child-God| Elf, leprechaun| Mother| Wise grandmother, virgin Mary| Hero| King, savior, champion| Demon| Satan, anti-Christ, vampire| Shadow| “The dark side,” evil twin| Persona| Mask, social facade, actor| Animus and Anima
Two important archetypes are the animus (the male element of a woman) and the anima (the female element of a man). The animus archetype implies that each woman has a masculine side and a corresponding innate knowledge of what it means to be male; the anima archetype implies that a feminine side and therefore a knowledge of what it means to be female resides in every man. Persona and Shadow These two opposing archetypes represent the differences between our outward appearances and our inner selves. The persona archetype (Latin for “mask”) represents the socially acceptable front that we present to others.
Although each persona, when viewed outwardly, is idiosyncratic, the archetype itself is an idealized picture of what people should be; it is modified by each individual’s unique efforts to achieve this goal. In contrast, the shadow archetype is the dark and unacceptable side of personality—the shameful desires and motives that we would rather not admit. These negative impulses lead to socially unacceptable thoughts and actions, much as the unchecked desires of Freud’s id might instigate outrageous behavior. Mother The mother archetype generally embodies generativity and fertility.
It may be evoked by an actual mother-figure (for instance, one’s own mother or grandmother) or a figurative one (for example, the church). Additionally, the mother archetype may be either good or evil, or perhaps both, much as real mothers have the potential to be. Hero and Demon The hero archetype describes a strong and good force that does battle with the enemy in order to rescue another from harm. The opposite of the hero is the demon archetype, which embodies cruelty and evil. In our example of David and Absalom, King David would represent the hero, whereas his ungrateful son would be the demon.
Jung’s beliefs about the collective unconscious and its archetypes, although intriguing, should not be accepted without thoughtful skepticism. Modern scientific psychology doubts the existence of the collective unconscious, at least in the sense of memories in the brain that resulted from the experiences of our ancestors. However, a more complex version of Jung’s idea probably does have some validity (see Figure 4. 1). Figure 4. 1 Fear of Snakes. Evidence ranging from Eve’s encounter in the Book of Genesis to modern experimental research in primatology and experimental psychology suggests that humans share an evolved fear of snakes.
People are quick to notice snakes, very quickly learn to fear snakes, and can react to snake stimuli outside of conscious awareness (Ohman & Mineka, 2003). Such findings may indicate that the human brain has a form of “collective unconscious. ” Throughout time people seem to struggle with the same issues over and over. For example, for thousands of years war has been waged in the name of gods, and even today this continues. Another issue that every generation wrestles with is gender differences: What are the differences and how important are they? (See Chapter 11 for a fuller treatment of gender issues. Our Western society has progressed far from the days early in the twentieth century when women could not attend college, could not vote, and were considered to be the property of their husbands. But despite this greater equality, society is still interested in differences. The popular best-seller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (Gray, 1992) focuses on the differences in men’s and women’s ways of communicating. Why do we continue to be interested in topics like gender differences and finding the “true God” or the “right religion”? Perhaps because, on some level, Jung was right.
It seems that we as people share certain interests, certain passions, in a way that borders on instinct. These sorts of questionings and strivings are part of what it means to be human. For Jung, a successful life involves a process of self-realization, through which a person integrates archetypes from the unconscious into a more fully developed self. Some of the more modern theories try to be more “objective” in their data, at the expense of ignoring these deep and fundamental questions. To avoid that mistake, in this book we try to show the strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches to personality.
Why Does It Matter? Why does it matter whether there is a collective unconscious common to everyone and full of primordial (ancient, primeval) ideas? To the extent the idea is valid, it helps us understand universal mythologies, explains commonalities in literatures, provides a basis for gut-level empathy, and gives a basis for numerous intuitive realizations. But if the idea of a collective unconscious is invalid, then common or universal themes and ideas must somehow emerge from the combination of more primitive instincts with the general structures of societies.
Complexes For Jung, a complex is a group of emotionally charged feelings, thoughts, and ideas that are all related to a particular theme (for instance, an adolescent celebrity’s inferiority feelings). The strength of any given complex is determined by its libido, or “value. ” Note that Jung’s definition of libido differs from Freud’s in that it describes a general psychic energy that is not necessarily sexual in nature. Jung substantiated his claims of the existence of complexes with his word-association test. He presented his clients with a list of words (see Table 4. ), arranged in what he believed was an optimal ordering scheme, and the clients were to respond to each word with the word that most quickly occurred to them. Jung and his colleagues would measure the amount of time it took a client to respond (delays indicating an abnormality or conflict of some kind), rate of respiration, galvanic skin response, and memory on retest. In this way he identified certain words that produced emotional arousal, and with prodding, these words could often be used to uncover the nature of the complex. Interestingly, similar (but more sophisticated) methods are used today in cognitive psychology.
Jung believed that personality is made up of opposing forces that continually pull against one another, thus establishing (in the healthy person) some measure of equilibrium. He eventually concluded, however, that the word-association test by itself was not able to discriminate properly between feelings related to imagined stimuli and feelings related to actual occurrences, and he abandoned the method. Table 4. 2 Some Stimulus Words for Jung’s Word-Association Test head| blue| frog| to wash| green| lamp| to part| cow| water| to sin| hunger| friend| to sing| bread| white| happiness| eath| rich| child| lie| ship| to prick| pencil| narrow| to pay| pity| sad| brother| window| yellow| plum| to fear| friendly| mountain| to marry| stork| Source: Adapted from Jung (1910). Instructions: After each word is read to you, respond immediately with the first word that comes to your mind. Interpretation: First, for each word, note if you answered immediately or experienced a delay. Then, list the words for which you experienced a response delay, gave a very unusual response, gave a long or multiple-word response, or showed some emotion. Finally, see if you can find a theme in these special words.
Jung thought that this theme provided a peek into your unconscious. Functions and Attitudes Jung posited four functions of the mind: (1) sensing (“Is something there? ”); (2) thinking (“What is it that is there? ”); (3) feeling (“What is it worth? ”); and (4) intuiting (“Where did it come from and where is it going? ”). Thinking and feeling were termed rational by Jung because they involve judgment and reasoning. In contrast, sensing and intuition he called irrational because conscious reasoning is virtually absent from these processes. Although all of these functions exist in every individual, one of them normally dominates.
In addition to these four functions, Jung described two major attitudes:extroversion and introversion. These terms are in wide use today but are generally understood as being opposite poles of the same dimension, rather than two separate and opposing constructs as Jung thought of them. And, analogously to functions, extroversion and introversion both exist in every individual, but one is usually dominant. Extroverts direct their libido (psychic energy) toward things in the external world, whereas introverts are more inwardly focused. The combination of these two attitudes with the four functions yields eight possible personality types.
Take, for example, a person whose dominant function is feeling and whose dominant attitude is extroversion; the “feeling” tendencies of the person would be directed outward. That is, in general, the person would make friends readily, would tend to be loud, and would be easily swayed by the emotional feelings of others. If, however, the predominant attitude was introversion, the feeling tendencies of the person would be channeled into introspection and a preoccupation with inner experiences that might be interpreted as cold indifference and, ironically, a lack of feeling by observers.
Thus, you can see that any dominant function may take on a very different flavor when paired with one or the other of the two attitudes, yielding eight very different categories or types of personalities. This typology forms the basis for one well-known personality inventory—the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (see also Chapter 8 for more on this aspect of Jung’s approach). Most significantly, it was Jung who challenged Freud and broke the new conceptual ground about motivation and the ego, allowing other approaches to flourish.
It should also be noted that Jung’s willingness to concern himself with more mystical and spiritual aspects of personality had an important influence on existential-humanistic approaches; these are considered in Chapter 9. Like Freud, Jung was one of the intellectual giants of the early twentieth century, sweeping away medieval cobwebs of ideas that had been passed down for generations, and opening up new ways of thinking about what it means to be a person. However, Jung was more a philosopher than a scientist. Sigmund Freud In 1882, Dr.
Sigmund Freud fell in love with a slender young woman named Martha Bernays. Unfortunately for Freud, he had neither the money nor the social status for an immediate marriage, and his sexual urges could not be gratified. Consistent with the times and their Austrian-Jewish culture, Freud and Martha, then in their 20s, would not engage in premarital sexual relations. They had to wait four long years until marriage, during which time Freud, a very perceptive young scientist, thought deeply and often about the pressures that his sexual longings put on other aspects of his life.
Ten years later, in the 1890s, Freud began developing his psychosexual theories of the human psyche. Freud’s mother (shown with him in the photo on the top) was the third wife of his father, Jacob Freud, who was 20 years her elder. She was quite attractive, and the young Freud, as well as others, adored her. Freud later recalled the impression it made when he, as a young child, once saw his mother nude. He incorporated love and thwarted-love relations into the foundations of his theories.
When Freud was two and a half years old, family complications arose: His mother gave birth to his sister, raising his wonder about human reproduction and provoking deep concerns of sibling rivalry in the highly intelligent little Sigmund. Further complicating the picture was the fact that Freud’s two adult half-brothers (from his father’s previous marriage) lived nearby and seemed quite attached to his young mother. Why did his half-brothers flirt with his mother? In later years, Freud well remembered the tangle of erotic relationships of his childhood (Gay, 1988; Jones, 1953).
Although Freud was Jewish and his wife, Martha, was raised as an orthodox Jew, he was passionately against religion and refused to let Martha fully practice. He was quite defensive about the topic despite the fact that anti-Semitism was a significant factor in the lives of all European Jews, much as skin color is a significant factor in the lives of present-day African Americans. Trained as a physician, Freud was primarily a biologist—a biologist swept up in the writings and influences of Charles Darwin.
Darwin had recently revolutionized scientific thought by proposing that people were highly intelligent animals, but animals nonetheless—biological creatures. Freud himself spent many years early in his career studying the biological evolution of fish. It is important to understand this aspect of Freud’s work: He saw himself as a biologist, a scientist, endeavoring (with all his abilities) to understand the biological structures and laws underlying psychological responses (Bernstein, 1976; Freud, 1966b; Gay, 1988; Jones, 1953). This discussion of the early life of Sigmund Freud has hinted that hildhood experiences, repressed erotic feelings, and unconscious conflicts can affect adult behavior. This type of analysis seems perfectly reasonable to most modern-day college students, but it was actually quite rare before the beginning of the twentieth century. The naturalness of a Freudian interpretation of personality gives elegant testimony to the success and influence of many of the ideas of a Freudian, psychoanalytic approach to personality. Freud visited the United States in 1909 at the invitation of G. Stanley Hall, the influential child psychologist, then president of Clark University.
Freud was accompanied by Carl Jung (then in his early 30s; Freud was in his 50s). Neither man was yet well known, but their ideas about unconscious sexuality were intriguing to those Americans who read about them. They were visited at Clark by many influential psychologists, including William James, the Harvard philosopher–psychologist who was one of the founders of American psychology. Freud, though anxious before such a distinguished audience, did a fine job of presenting his ideas. This was the beginning of the significant spread of psychoanalytic ideas in North America.
Freud’s work is now the most heavily cited in all of psychology, and it is extensively referenced in many of the humanities as well. Sigmund Freud is sometimes treated as a historical curiosity because some of his ideas have been disproven by modern research in biology and psychology. This attitude is a misreading of Freud’s impact, and it may lead the field to overlook the insights that psychoanalytic theory can add to our understanding of personality. In this chapter we show how Freud’s startling ideas are alive and highly influential even today.
We also examine important limits and failures of the psychoanalytic approach. Basic Psychoanalytic Concepts As his young medical career began to develop, Sigmund Freud became more and more interested in neurology and psychiatry. Needing to develop clinical medical skills that could earn him money, he began paying less attention to research in biology and directed more efforts at problems plaguing patients. In 1885, Freud went to Paris to study with the famous neuropathologist J. M. Charcot. Charcot was studying hysteria.
Although hysteria is uncommon today, it was quite a problem just over a century ago. It is almost accurate to say it was a fashionable disease. Many people, especially young women, would be afflicted with various forms of paralysis for which no organic cause could be found. Sometimes, almost miraculously, they could be cured by psychological and social influences. For example, Charcot and Pierre Janet (Janet, 1907) successfully used hypnosis to cure hysteria. The idea behind the therapy was that, unbeknownst to the patient, psychological forces in the mind were causing physical ailments.
By unlocking the inner psychological tension, the outer body could be liberated. The Unconscious and Therapeutic Techniques Freud began employing hypnosis but eventually found it inadequate to treat many of his patients. So Freud, influenced by his fellow physician and physiologist Josef Breuer, began experimenting, moving from hypnosis and other forms of intense suggestion to techniques of free association—spontaneous, free-flowing associations of ideas and feelings; and finally he moved to dreams (Breuer & Freud, 1957).
It became more and more apparent to Freud that most patients were not consciously in touch with the inner conflicts that caused their observable mental and physical problems. But dreams might provide a key to unlock their inner secrets. Dreams have been interpreted since biblical times, and even before. They were often seen as prophecies or divine revelations. But to Freud, the evolutionary biologist, dreams were a product of the individual’s psyche. He saw dreams as pieces of and hints about the unconscious—that portion of the mind inaccessible to usual, conscious thought (Freud, 1913). Freud called dreams the “royal road” to understanding the unconscious. Let us say that you repeatedly dream that you are chasing your boss up the stairs. You run faster and faster and become more and more frustrated but never reach the peak. Freud interpreted such activity as representing sexual intercourse, but intercourse that is never consummated. Why might one have such a dream? Because it might be too threatening, psychologically speaking, to admit to such thoughts. It might be threatening to one’s marriage or to one’s self-concept or to one’s sense of morality to admit to such constant lustful urges.
The urge is therefore turned into a nonthreatening symbol—running up flights of stairs. ” * Personality. Classic Theories and Modern Research, Fourth Edition (2009) by Howard S. Friedman and Miriam W. Schustack The naturalness of a Freudian interpretation of personality gives elegant testimony to the success and influence of many of the ideas of a Freudian, psychoanalytic approach to personality. Freud’s work is now the most heavily cited in all of psychology, and it is extensively referenced in many of the humanities as well.
Freud began employing hypnosis but eventually found it inadequate to treat many of his patients. So Freud, influenced by his fellow physician and physiologist Josef Breuer, began experimenting, moving from hypnosis and other forms of intense suggestion to techniques of free association—spontaneous, free-flowing associations of ideas and feelings; and finally he moved to dreams (Breuer & Freud, 1957). Dreams have been interpreted since biblical times, and even before. They were often seen as prophecies or divine revelations.
But to Freud, the evolutionary biologist, dreams were a product of the individual’s psyche. He saw dreams as pieces of and hints about the unconscious—that portion of the mind inaccessible to usual, conscious thought (Freud, 1913). SECOND QUESTION Psychosexual Development Oral Stage Infants are driven to satisfy their drives of hunger and thirst, and they turn to their mother’s breast or bottle for this satisfaction, as well as for the security and pleasure that comes from nursing. At some point (usually at about age one in American society), the baby must stop sucking and be weaned.
This creates a conflict between the desire to remain in a state of dependent security and the biological and psychological necessity of being weaned (“growing up”). It is one instance of the conflict between the id and the ego. Some babies easily resolve this conflict and redirect their psychosexual energy (libido) toward other challenges. But some children have difficulty with this transition, perhaps being moved to solid food before they are ready. According to psychoanalytic theory, such children remain concerned with being mothered and taken care of, and keeping their mouths full of desired substances.
In technical terms, they are said to be fixated at the oral stage. Anal Stage The two-year-old, following the urges of the id, takes pleasure in the relief—the tension reduction—of defecating. The parents, however, want to control when and where the child urinates and defecates. In other words, the parents want society’s proscription against unbridled defecation represented in the child’s superego. Some children readily learn such self-control, and this becomes a healthy aspect of their personality. Others overlearn it; they take pleasure in holding in their feces in order to maintain some control over their parents.
They deliver their feces only when they are good and ready. (Some children’s holding back feces becomes such a significant threat to their health that they must be given laxatives. ) Still other children fight the attempts to regulate their urination and defecation, trying to maintain total freedom of action. Psychoanalytic theory sees these patterns as carrying on throughout life (A. Freud, 1981; S. Freud, 1908; Fromm, 1947). A two-year-old who takes great pleasure in feces expulsion and becomes fixated at this stage may develop a personality pattern of creativity and open expression—letting it all hang out.
Phallic Stage Around age four, the child enters the phallic stage, in which sexual energy is focused on the genitals. Children may explore their genitals and masturbate, but open masturbation is not socially acceptable (and certainly was absolutely taboo in Freud’s society). In many families, private masturbation is also forbidden by parents, who may threaten their children with dire consequences. Children also focus now on the differences between boys and girls. By age six, most children have a good sense of their gender identity. Central to this stage of Freudian theory is the Oedipus complex. Oedipus Complex
In the first decade of the twentieth century, psychoanalytic ideas developed rapidly and flourished. A particularly influential case study was that of Little Hans, the subject of Freud’s “Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy” (1909/1967). Little Hans was the son of one of Freud’s friends and admirers. The boy suffered from a phobia—an excessive or incapacitating fear. In Hans’s case it was a fear of horses. (These were the days before automobiles. ) He was afraid horses would bite him, to the point that he became afraid of going outdoors. Different theories explain such a phobia in different ways.
Freud’s explanation was in terms of unconscious sexual conflict. He noted that Hans’s father had a large mustache and was a large and powerful man; likewise, horses wear a muzzle across their faces and are large and powerful. Just as symbols are important in dreams, Freud viewed horses as a symbol in Hans’s mind of his father. But why was Hans unconsciously so afraid of his father? Freud noted that Hans, like many little boys, was very concerned with penises—his penis, his father’s penis, a horse’s large penis. Hans was also concerned with those people (like his sister) without penises.
Hans had been threatened for playing with his penis. Freud concluded that Hans was struggling to deal with his intense love for his mother, coupled with the knowledge that he could not overcome his powerful father. His horse phobia resulted from this struggle. This unconscious fear is termed castration anxiety. Hans feared that his father would take revenge and castrate him, thus making him like his sister. A five-year-old boy cannot kill his father and marry his mother. To resolve the unconscious tension between fear and erotic desire, a successfully developing boy turns to identification with his father.
He assumes manly characteristics and tries to be like his father. In addition to diminishing the danger of castration, this identification allows the little boy to vicariously “obtain” his mother—that is, through his father. Penis Envy What about girls? Freud believed that little girls become quite upset when they recognize that they do not have a penis as do boys and men. This is not an unreasonable assumption in times or places where boys are granted much higher status than girls. A little girl, wondering why she is less worthy, might look to the only observable physical difference, her lack of a penis.
Note also that given Freud’s elevation of sexuality as the shaper of personality, it makes sense that little girls would be quite concerned about their lack of easily visible genitals. According to this thinking, girls develop feelings of inferiority and jealousy, a phenomenon termed penis envy. Like boys, girls first develop a sexual attachment to their mothers. However, because her mother has allowed her to be born without a penis or perhaps (she thinks) has cut off her penis, the girl transfers her love to her father, in an attempt to capture a penis.
Here, Freud points to the conflicting feelings of a little girl who of course loves her mother but responds to the affections and strengths of her father. This idea would not be controversial except for the sexual undercurrents that Freud attaches to these relations. (The girl’s conflict is sometimes termed by others as the “Electra complex,” after the maiden in Greek mythology who convinced her brother Orestes to murder their mother Clytemnestra; but Freud himself did not like this term. ) Just as a boy cannot marry his mother, a girl cannot marry her father.
So, in Freud’s view of normal development, a girl decides that although she cannot have a penis, she can have a baby when she grows up, thereby becoming complete. In other words, for Freud the development of a girl’s personality builds on early psychosexual feelings surrounding her genital identity. It follows that a healthy adult woman should want to find a good man like her father and produce a baby. It is not uncommon for us to know men who seem to be seeking girlfriends who are like their mothers, or who are the exact opposite of their mothers.
We also know females who are seeking boyfriends like their fathers, or the opposite of their fathers. All of these motivations are directly derivable from psychoanalytic theory. Various sorts of modern-day evidence confirm that many aspects and problems of courtship and marriage revolve around issues related to the partners’ parents and other early relations, though not always in the ways Freud predicted (Andersen, Reznik, & Glassman, 2005). Adults may replay unresolved conflicts from their childhoods (Snyder, Wills, & Grady-Fletcher, 1991; Sullivan & Christensen, 1998).
Latency Period It is clear to any observer that sexual drives become a significant influence at puberty. But what about the period between resolution of the Oedipus complex (around age 5) and puberty (around age 11)? Freud did not note any important psychosexual developments during this time, and so he called it a latency period. During this period, because it is usually not possible for sexual urges to be directly expressed, The fact that Freudian theory has little to say about the grade school years reveals a significant weakness of the whole approach.
These years are the time when a child learns to make friends, to become a leader or follower, to cooperate with teachers and other authorities, and to develop study and work habits. Such matters are not easily explained in terms of unconscious motivations and sexual drives. To understand such matters, we need to understand more about self-concept and about traits and abilities, issues that are considered in later chapters of this book. Although Freud did not know it, it turns out that this is by no means a dormant period of biological development.
In the years before puberty (between ages 6 and 11), the adrenal glands are maturing, and there is a growth spurt coupled with changes in adrenal-stimulated hormones. It is not unusual for there to be sexual attraction in the fourth grade, well before the individuals reach sexual maturity (McClintock & Herdt, 1996). Genital Stage If a person makes it through the many challenges of early childhood with enough sexual energy still available (that is, without strong fixations), then there will supposedly be a fairly well-adjusted life, dominated by the genital stage.
In other words, Freud thought that if a person was not trapped or hung up along the way, then adolescence marks the beginning of an adult life of normal sexual relations, marriage, and child-rearing. Freud was correct in proposing that deviant experiences in childhood can produce personal idiosyncrasies or personality problems in adulthood. Indeed, this assumption is the basis of much modern-day psychotherapy, in which the early environment is seen as setting the pattern for later life (Horowitz, 1998). It seems, however, that Freud was off track in assuming that it is childhood sexual urges that suddenly spring to life in adolescence.
It is now clear that striking hormonal changes occur at puberty, and the adolescent struggles to become independent. Many conflicts occur at puberty, but they do not seem closely tied to the psychosexual development of infants and toddlers. Further, it is now much clearer that there are many issues of adult sexuality and adult behavior that must be considered on their own terms, rather than in the context of one overarching psychoanalytic psychosexual model. In the genital stage, attention is supposed to turn away from masturbation and toward heterosexual relations.
Any deviation (for example, remaining single, remaining childless, homosexuality, or other sexual behaviors) is considered a flaw, unnatural. In this regard, Freud was clearly wrong. Cultural and biological research indicates that varying mating patterns, masturbation, homosexuality, and a wide variety of sexual activities are found in psychologically healthy, productive, well-adjusted people. One may have religious, moral, practical, or cultural reasons for discouraging various forms of adult sexuality, but there is no scientific or biological reason for such prejudice (Kaplan, 1983; Masters & Johnson, 1966).
Freud made this mistake, and many other well-intentioned people make the same mistake today. THIRD QUESTION Sublimation Sublimation is the transforming of dangerous urges into positive, socially acceptable motivations (Loewald, 1988). For example, anal retentive impulses based on the holding back of feces might lead to a desire to control and order the lives of everyone at home and at work. Through sublimation, these drives might be transformed to a desire to organize children’s activities or to clean up the local riverfront. Artistic endeavors are often attributed to sublimation.
In a psychohistorical analysis of Leonardo da Vinci, Freud (1947) argued that Leonardo’s genius arose from his sublimation of sexual energies into a passion for scientific creativity and discovery. Of course, innate talent was also necessary; not everyone with sublimated sexual energies can become a Leonardo. Freud did a similar analysis of Michelangelo. Freud viewed society as a means to turn sexual energy away from sexual ends and toward societal goals. According to this view, society fears nothing more than that sexual urges may return to their original goal—sexual fulfillment.
It can be argued that modern society provides an ongoing test of Freud’s theory. Since Freud’s prudish time, a sexual revolution and a dramatic sexual liberation have occurred. As people become more and more sexually liberated, psychoanalysis predicts that art, creativity, and even civilization itself will suffer and eventually disintegrate. Denial When a tragedy has occurred, it is sometimes the job of police officers or other public servants to visit homes in their city and inform parents that their child has been killed in an accident or a homicide.
Sometimes, the response of the parent is simple: “No, that can’t be. I’m on my way now to pick up my child at school. ” The parent absolutely denies the terrible fact. Similarly, a teenage girl in the advanced stages of an unwanted pregnancy may deny, to herself and to others, that she is pregnant, despite strong evidence to the contrary. When terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center in New York in 2001, killing over 3,000 civilians, many of the victims were vaporized by the extreme temperatures of the burning jet fuel, or were crushed by the collapsing skyscrapers.
Their bodies thus were “missing,” and relatives and friends began a fruitless search from one hospital to another, looking for them. When, days later, reporters began asking these bereaved relatives if they had lost hope of finding their loved ones, the most common answer was a calm response that they still had confidence that they would be successful, and everything would turn out fine. It was too much to believe, too much for the human mind to grasp, that one’s young, vital spouse, sibling, or child could be obliterated in an instant.
Research on response to physical pain and injury reveals a similar phenomenon. For example, one worker slipped and put a screwdriver through his hand. He did not feel any pain until he looked down at what he had done and saw the blood; then the truth began to “sink in. ” Soldiers injured in battle or even football players injured on the field often do not feel the pain of their injury until many hours later. The mind has a means of keeping its own sensations out of conscious awareness.
Denial, simply refusing to acknowledge anxiety-provoking stimuli, is a common defense mechanism (Baumeister, Dale, & Sommer, 1998). Although it is usually seen in adults in conditions of severe stress or pain, people will also sometimes distort some aspects of a situation, say, telling their friends that a terrible fight with their spouse was really just a lover’s quarrel. In such instances, they lie to themselves. Like repression, denial is a mechanism that has been subject to some active attention by researchers studying stress, coping, and health (Fernandez & Turk, 1995), considered in Chapter 12.
Projection Projection is a defense mechanism in which anxiety-arousing impulses are externalized by placing them, or projecting them, onto others. A person’s inner threats are attributed to those around him or her. Consider an extremist politician on the rampage against people involved in premarital sex, against children born out of wedlock, gay people, and sex education teachers in the schools, claiming, “Those subversive pinkos are wrecking our moral fabric! Is this politician a noble and moral prophet bringing a better life to all, or a disturbed personality, hung up on sexuality and afraid of the surging id forces within? Freud was willing to apply his theories to major issues in society, such as the causes of prejudice and war. In some ways, the true motivations of our extremist politicians (or anyone) cannot be scientifically proven. This is one of the weaknesses of this aspect of Freudian theory, and of psychoanalytic theory in general.
For example, the traditional Freudian sources of “proof,” namely, further disclosures during psychotherapy and improvement in psychological functioning after disclosure or therapy, can easily be the result of other factors. And if the maladaptive patterns continue after psychotherapy, it may be claimed that the unconscious urges are even more deeply hidden; this finding is unprovable. On the other hand, if a politician shows certain accompanying behaviors, then a psychosexual dysfunction seems more likely.
In the extreme, if we find that a married politician who is always talking about family values turns out to have a long-time secret lover, then we may rightly wonder if that politician was struggling with his libido using reaction formation (doing the opposite of one’s urges) and projection (placing one’s urges onto others). This would be confirmed if the politician showed other signs of instability. Other examples are more subtle. Consider the case of a female community activist who attends school board meetings to ensure that children are not taught about sexuality and birth control in the public schools.
She argues that sexuality and contraception are a matter for the family to discuss at home (or in church). If this is really her motivation, then this woman should be able to provide the relevant information to her children; she should be very comfortable with and knowledgeable about such matters as the erection of the penis, the lubrication of the vagina, orgasms, and so on; sexual problems such as premature ejaculation; and sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS and chlamydia. This could be ascertained in private adult discussion. If the woman can intelligently discuss such matters, then a Freudian interpretation does not seem applicable.
If, however, the woman turns bright red, becomes extremely hostile, or brings up irrelevant matters when basic facts about human sexuality are discussed, then a Freudian would be confident about the motivation for the woman’s behaviors. An analogous kind of analysis could be applied to a liberal politician or activist who seemed especially concerned with ideas of free love or the public expression of erotic art. Freud’s perspective would allow an observer to ascertain whether this is a rational and logical set of beliefs, or an irrational adaptation to uncontrolled, instinctual sexual forces.
Discussion and research on defensive projection has remained a fascinating topic throughout this century, with at least some support found for Freud’s views (Allport, 1954; Newman, Duff, & Baumeister, 1997; Vaillant, 1986). There is evidence that people who are less comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty are more likely to hold conservative views while people who have less need for order and closure are more liberal (Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, & Sulloway, 2003; Jost, 2006). This does not necessarily mean that one set of views is less rational; some conservatives and some liberals make illogical decisions.
Rather, it suggests that we tend to hold some political views that fit well with deep-seated aspects of our personalities. Many modern studies have documented the existence of unconscious prejudices, especially racial prejudices (Greenwald et al. , 2002). For example, one experiment presented participants with a series of African American and white faces, paired with either a positive or negative adjective. Whites with an unconscious prejudice against African Americans should have this prejudice primed by seeing the African American face.
The participants’ job was to press a key quickly to indicate whether the presented word was positive or negative. Response latency to the negative words paired with an African American face should thus indicate unconscious prejudice. In fact, the results did show that this measure of individual differences in prejudice predicted whether an African American confederate (of the experimenters) later viewed the participants as friendly and positive when she debriefed them about the study (Fazio, Jackson, Dunton, & Williams, 1995).