Describe and Evaluate the Psychoanalytical / Psychodynamic Approach to Personality Development Essay

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Describe and Evaluate the Psychoanalytical / Psychodynamic Approach to Personality Development Psychoanalytic theory originated with the work of Sigmund Freud (Gross 2010). Through his clinical work with patients suffering from mental illness, Freud came to believe that childhood experiences and unconscious desires influenced behaviour. Based on his observations, Freud developed a theory that described development in terms of a series of psychosexual stages. According to Freud (1949), conflicts that occur during each of these stages can have a lifelong influence on personality and therefore behaviour (Hayes 2000). Within this essay I am going to delve further into these principles and evaluate their validity and reliability as an approach to personality development. As Freud developed his psychoanalytic theory, he articulated a model of the mind ‘as being constructed like an iceberg’ (Hayes 2000, page 203). He believed that the top of the iceberg (the part visible above the surface) was like the conscious mind, information that was immediately present to the psyche at any given time. The part of the iceberg immediately below the surface that could occasionally be seen from the ebb of the waves was the preconscious mind. This consisted of thoughts, ideas and memories that may have been temporarily forgotten but could easily be brought into the conscious mind when they were needed. The final submerged part of the iceberg Freud (1949) described as representing the unconscious mind; containing all kinds of disturbing and emotionally significant ideas and memories that influence the conscious and pre-conscious mind unknowingly. From his treatment of patients with severe neurosis, Freud saw the adult personality as having three basic components: the id, the ego and the super-ego. He believed these three elements work together to create the complexity of human
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