Evaluate the Extent to Which Freud’s Theory of Psychosexual Development Can Help Us to Understand a Client’s Presenting Issue?

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“Evaluate the extent to which Freud’s theory of Psychosexual Development can help us to understand a client’s presenting issue?” In this essay I am asked to evaluate one aspect of Freudian theory. I will begin by first describing Freud’s psychosexual theory and demonstrate an understanding of its relationship to adult neurotic behaviour. Having done this I will examine some of the criticisms that have been levelled at Freudian theory in order to evaluate it. In 1905 Freud published ‘Three Essays on the theory of Sexuality and other Works’, one of those essays was titled ‘Infantile Sexuality’. In this essay Freud sets out his theory of psychosexual development. He asserts that there is in all humans an innate drive or instinct for pleasure, a sort of psychic energy, which he calls the libido and this energy needs to be discharged. He then goes on to describe how this drive finds outlet at the earliest stages of life, as babies, toddlers and infants and describes the oral, anal and phallic stages and the psychological effects of fixation at these stages. It is important to note that Freud separated sexual aims and objectives. His work on sexuality and perversions led to the wider theory of sexuality whereby he differentiated the sexual aim (the desire for pleasure) and the object (the person or thing used to fulfil the desire). He asserted that sexuality is more than just genital copulation between adults and this work is the background to his theory on infantile sexuality. He emphasised particular erogenous zones as being of primary importance at different stages of infancy. Each stage impacts in three significant ways: physical focus where the child’s energy may be concentrated and their gratification obtained; psychologically through demands being made of the child by the outside world as he or she develops – either doing too much or not enough of what is ideal;
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