A Study Of The Soul Essay example

A Study Of The Soul Essay example

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Psychology began as the study of the soul. Plato believed the soul was an individual’s belief they are separate from, but also connected to their physical and social environments. Aristotle believed the soul was a set of psychological attributes which he referred to as the ‘mind’ (Garcia-Valdecasas, 2005).
From that, psychology evolved into a science of the self which James (1890) viewed as a fundamental concept in psychology. James made the distinction between the objective self (me) and the subjective self (I). Poll and Smith (2003) remarked that psychodynamic theories place more emphasis on the objective self unlike James.
The psychodynamic school was founded by Sigmund Freud and tries to explain individual’s personality and behaviour in terms of underlying conscious and unconscious forces. Thus, a strong emphasis is placed on the unconscious and childhood experiences as these are thought to help shape personality.
Psychoanalytic Theory (S. Freud, 1900)
The best-known psychodynamic theory of personality is S. Freud’s (1900) psychoanalytic theory which can be seen as a response to James’ (1890) radical empiricism.
S. Freud initially believed there were three unconscious motives responsible for all human behaviour; sex, aggression, and anxiety reduction. Sex was the most important motive. However, in 1927, sex was changed to Eros (the life motive), aggression to Thanatos (the death motive) and anxiety reduction was deemphasised.
S. Freud (1927) developed a personality structure present in all humans consisting of the id, ego and superego. The id is an unconscious entity present from birth. Both the Eros and Thanatos motives reside in the id. As it only relates to the other personality entities, not the environment, it is the leas...


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...n, rather than the sexual and aggressive interaction between the child and parent.
However, a criticism of all the theories is their lack of empirical evidence. Adler (1927) and Horney (1937) have no single agreed upon measure of their styles of life and ten neurotic needs, whereas Jung’s (1912) measure of the MBTI (Myers, 1962) lacks any empirical evidence.
Overall, I think each theory has value within the psychodynamic school of psychology as they each presented their own unique concepts such as S. Freud’s (1900) personality structure, Jung’s (1912) concept of introversion and extraversion, Adler’s (1927) four personality types and Horney’s (1937) ten neurotic needs characterised by three modes. However, I believe that S. Freud’s (1900) psychoanalytic theory had the most influence and greatest contribution to the psychodynamic school and to psychology as a whole. 

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