Within our everyday life we constantly come across people that we have never met before, and when meeting these people it is their character, the way they behave and feel which interests us. This is known as a person’s personality, personality is made up of the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that make a person unique (Psychology.about, 2012). The way people are interested in the way others behave is similar to that of personality psychologists when trying to understand how and why an individual has a certain type of personality. There are a number of theories which explain personality within their own school of thought. One of these is trait theories.
Since I have begun my studies in Psychology, I have stumbled across many definitions for personality. Definitions range from “…refers to those characteristics of the person that account for consistent patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving” (Pervin, Cervone, & John, 2005, p6), to “the pattern of psychological and behavioral characteristics by which each person can be compared and contrasted with others” (Bernstein, Penner, Clarke-Stewart & Roy, 2003, pg 518), to Moore’s contribution“... psychological – it refers to the individual (actions, thoughts, feelings) and not to material things such as possessions or status” (cited in Davey, 2004, pg488). The definitions are endless, but the most pertinent I have come across, “it is the whole integrated pattern of behaviour which distinguishes one man from another as uniquely as fingerprints and as distinctly as photographs” (Lazarus & Opton Jr, 1967, pg9). The text further goes on to explain the subject matter of personality and the areas it is divided into. So now there is an understanding of personality, it will be easier to appreciate the approaches that will be compared and contrasted.
Each theory has their own similarities and differences which includes strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, it is ideal for a professional counselor to explore, and implement, many theories in his or her career. Adlerian Theory Key Concepts Adlerian Theory was developed by Alfred Adler who shared the same ideas as Freud but eventually concluded that Freud's concepts were too deterministic and limited. Adler eventually established his own theory of human development and psychotherapy, which he called Individual Psychology. Alfred Adler believed that understanding people grew from knowledge of their goals and drives, their family constellations, their social contexts, and their styles of life.
The overall arching idea that arises from Civilization and its Discontents is how the human species, plagued with its instinctual demands for sex and destruction, are put into check and balanced out with the rules and laws of society for the purpose of keeping such instincts into safe moderation. This societal super-ego is the main topic of discussion that I will attempt to embark on in describing Freud’s most widely read book. The super-ego is essentially the conscience that keeps the ego in check. It keeps the ego in check by monitoring what the ego does and what actions it takes. In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud relates the super-ego to the primal father that is killed by his two sons.
This aspect of personality is completely unconscious and includes instinctive behavior, and is the primary component of your personality. The id strives for immediate gratification of all desires, wants and needs. The ego on the other hand, is a component of personality that is responsible for dealing with reality. Freud Believed that the ego develops from the id and makes sure that the impulses of the id can be expressed in a way that is acceptable in the real world. The last component of personality is the superego.
Personality Assessment Instrument By University of Phoenix Personality Assessment Instrument Paper The majority of the most commonly found and widely used personality assessments are focused on the theory that the behaviors in us all are a result of a variety of specific traits that can be measured. These personality traits act or speak for our inner tendencies, how someone behaves in certain ways regardless of environmental setting. Even though one’s environmental setting can most certainly affect a person’s behavior, people are known to have a preferred way for acting in many different situations. To help define and measure individual differences in personalities, there are a variety of assessment instruments that have been created. In general, these assessment tools rely mainly on self reported behavior.
Behaviorism vs. Psycho-analysis Abstract The most common definition of psychology is the study of mental processes, human behavior, and how they affect an individual’s physical state, mental state, and external environment. The most comprehensive theory developed to explain the given definition of psychology is psychodynamics, a theory of how thoughts and feelings affect our actions. Watson’s failure to focus on the unseen phenomena that is the subconscious and the conscious is what leads to the inevitable fading of his theory among psychologists. This paper argues against Watson’s claims, and for the Psychodynamic theory. “Psychology as the behaviourist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science.
Psychoanalytical theories of personality stress the individual’s unconscious motivations which can be identified through dreams, slips of the tongue and fantasies (McCrae & Costa, 2003; 21). “The psychoanalytical theory views personality as biologically based, relatively unchangeable and determined by the need to control sexual and aggressive instincts which are unconscious in nature” (Rust & Golombok, 1989, 131). Sigmund Freud was the founder of the psychoanalytical approach to personality although many academics have expounded on his research since then (Bernstein, 2001; 125). This contrasts with the humanistic theory which was adopted by leading 20th Century psychologists Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow (Nicholas, 2008; 226). Robert Ewen suggests that
Each man had their own personal theory about the unconscious mind. To understand the differences lets discuss, “One of the first cases that inspired Freud in the development of what would eventually become the Psychoanalytic Theory was the case of Anna O.” (Hurst, 1982) “Freud’s greatest contribution to personality theory is his exploration of the unconscious and his insistence that people are motivated primarily by drives of which they have little or no awareness.” (Feist, 2009) Freud takes this further by dividing the unconscious into the unconscious and the preconscious. “The unconscious contains all those drives, urges, or instincts that are beyond our awareness but that nevertheless motivate most of our words, feelings, and actions.” (Feist, 2009) This notion was explained as one that dreams, slips of the tongue and forgetting were projected from the unconscious mind. Freud model of mental life was the conscious (ego), preconscious (superego) and the unconscious (id). Considering Freud’s theory it appears that Anna O. had a past which was stored deep into the unconscious that was affecting the mental and physical part of her life.
There are many different constructions and theories on personality which all have their own strengths and weaknesses and all of which try to offer an explanation to the differences in people’s behaviour. This essay will look at Hans Eysenck’s Trait Theory (1965) which is interested in measuring people’s personality through traits. According to this perspective, traits are stable over time and differ between individuals. We will also look at George Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory (1955.) He believed that people develop constructs as internal ideas of reality to help them understand the world around them and that the way the world is viewed is based on individual experiences, interpretations and observations.