Psychoanalytic Theory and the Defense Mechanisms

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The introduction of the psychoanalytic theory into the field of psychology in the late 19th century and early 20th century by Sigmund Freud provided an innovative approach toward the examination and treatment of an individual’s behaviors. Through Freud’s definition of psychoanalysis, the idea that behaviors are not random, but rather full of significance, was encapsulated. In general terms Freud viewed psychoanalysis as an attribution of thoughts and actions to an individual’s unconscious motives and conflicts through the use of personality and therapeutic methods. Within this theory Freud developed an idea of an individual’s mind by analyzing it in comparison to an iceberg. Much like an iceberg, which contains various regions that are exposed and concealed, Freud viewed one’s cognizance through the same lens. He generated a clear view of the human mind in three distinct categories: the id, the ego, and the superego.

In relation to an iceberg, the id serves as a part of the structure that is fully submerged in water. Analyzing the id’s role in the human mind provides a better understanding of this placement. Freud displayed the id as the division of the human mind that functions as the unconscious source of sexual drives, instincts, irrational impulses, pleasure, and immediate gratification. Due to the id’s sole concern revolving around satisfaction and pleasure, it is easy to relate such behaviors to that of an infant who only exhibits distress towards their own gratification. The second division is the superego, the portion of the human mind fixated on distinguishing a difference between right and wrong in an attempt to attain perfection. It represents the mind’s unconscious set of ideals while maintaining standard judgments ...

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... be the way they are. It merely provides one aspect of the process. Freud is successful in depicting a view of an individual’s personality by establishing defense mechanisms and divisions of the mind. He produces valuable, innovative aspects about personality and psychology that serve to be relatable and effective within society. Although I find his approach successful in several aspects, I find it hard to fully accept. My main issue with Freud’s approach is his aversion from the scientific concepts behind the idea of personality within psychology. Although he develops an idea of personality, he overemphasizes parental influence and repression, rather than creating a focus on an individual’s genetics, biology, environment, and countless other aspects. In order to establish an adequate perspective on personality it is essential that all possible factors are included.
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