Perspective Model Approach: Development, Anxiety, Psychotherapy. And Freudian Theory for Competitive Exams

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Development of Personality

  • A Stage Approach
  • Psychodynamic approach proposed a stage- theory of the development of personality:
  • Oral stage occurs during the first year of life and the erogenous zone during this stage is the mouth. At this stage, pleasures mainly come from mouth. According to Freud, an adult who is fixated at the early oral stage will engage in abundance of oral activities such as eating, drinking, or smoking.
  • This person also will engage in activities that are symbolically equivalent to those oral activities such as collecting things, being a good listener etc.
  • Anal stage starts during the second year of life, and the erogenous zone is the anus buttocks region. It is the stage when the child has to gain control over his physiological processes so that they function in accordance with the demands of the society. i.e. the child must be toilet trained. Fixation at this stage may result in physical problems.
  • Phallic stage starts from the third year of life to about fifth year, and the erogenous area are the genital area. This is one of the most complicated and controversial of Freud՚s stages. It is the stage of Oedipus and Electra complexes, the resolution of which has profound influence on an adult՚s life.
  • The male child experiences the Oedipus complex, which is named after an ancient play by Sophocles, entitled Oedipus Tyrannus, in which King Oedipus killed his father and married his mother. The male child resents the father, because he is regarded as a rival for the mother՚s attention and affection.
  • The female counter part of the Oedipus complex is Electra complex, named after another play by Sophocles entitled “Electra” , in which Electra causes her brother to kill her mother who had killed Electra՚s father.
  • Latency stage lasts from about sixth year to about twelfth year. Here the sexual interests are displaced to substitute activities such as learning, athletics, and peer group activities.
  • Genital stage is the final stage of development that occurs following puberty. It is the time at which the person emerges from pre genital stages as the adults as he/she destined to become.
  • Now the child has become a socialized adult with heterosexual interests leading to marriage and child- rearing. If, however, the experiences during the pregenital stages cause fixation, they will manifests themselves throughout one՚s adult life.


  • An emotional state experienced as a result of felt threat to the self
  • Anxiety arises when ego cannot cope too much of:
    • Demands of the id
    • Demands of the ego
    • External danger
  • In order to protect itself against anxiety and threat, ego uses defense mechanism

Defense Mechanisms

  • Ego defense system, which may be distorting reality
  • Repression: Blocking unpleasant/unacceptable thoughts by pushing them into the unconscious e. g. forgetting events of the painful childhood.
  • Regression: Reverting back to a stage that was satisfying e. g. a boss showing temper tantrums like a child; or acting like a baby.
  • Displacement: Redirecting the expression of unwanted desires or impulses to a substitute rather than the actual target e. g. beating children when a wife cannot express anger toward husband.
  • Rationalization: In order to justify one՚s behavior, one develops a socially acceptable explanation or reasoning e. g. going for a second marriage saying that the first wife was quarrelsome.
  • Denial: Refusing to acknowledge or accept anxiety provoking thoughts or impulses e. g. being a heavy smoker but saying ‘I am an occasional smoker’ .
  • Projection: Attributing unwanted thoughts and impulses to others e. g. a person takes bribe and blames the organization for paying him not enough salary.
  • Sublimation: Converting unwanted impulses into socially approved thoughts, feelings and actions e. g. disliking the in-laws but behaving in a very friendly manner, or becoming a stamp collector to overcome the impulse to steal



  • An intensive, long-term psychotherapeutic procedure.
  • Requires long sessions over extended periods … may be years.
  • Better suited to intelligent individuals.
  • Involves a special relationship between the therapist and the patient.
  • Target: To explore unconscious motivation, conflicts, desires.
  • Goal: Establishing intra psychic harmony by developing awareness of the role of the id, reducing over compliance with super ego, and by strengthening the ego.
  • Understanding of ‘repression’ : The therapy gives central importance to the understanding of the manner in which the person uses repression for handling conflict.
  • Interventions used in Psychotherapy

1. Free Association

  • Kept in a comfortable position, the patient is asked to talk aloud and say whatever comes to his mind without considering whether or not it is relevant, rational, or sensible.
  • The patient is asked to reveal even the most undesirable and strong thoughts that have been repressed. This leads to emotional release, called ‘catharsis’ .

2. Analysis of Resistance

  • At times patient feels inhibitions, and is unable or unwilling to express some thought or feeling i.e.. , barriers between conscious and unconscious.
  • The psychoanalyst aims to break down such resistances so that the patient is enabled to face the unpleasant thoughts, impulses, events.

3. Dream Analysis

  • The therapist tries to uncover the latent content of dreams and decipher the symbolism involved.

4. Analysis of Transference & Counter Transference

Transference: The patient՚s emotional response toward the therapist is often an indication of the patient՚s relationship with a person who had been the center of the conflict. It may be negative or positive.

  • Counter Transference: The therapists՚ emotional reaction toward the patient is also important.
  • He may also start having positive or negative feelings for the patient.
  • Transference is analyzed and understood as part of the therapeutic process.
  • Criticism against

Freudian Psychodynamic Theory

  • There is no scientific proof that many psychodynamic constructs, e. g. unconscious, exist
  • Psychic Determinism: Freudian approach is deterministic and leaves not much room for conscious, rational, decision making or personal will to act
  • It ignores the external variables and the environment
  • It emphasizes the early childhood experiences too much
  • Mostly criticized for its interpretation of the relationship between the genders
  • The therapy is too time consuming and therefore expensive

The Neo Freudian

The theorists who belonged to the Freudian school and supported it, but later digressed on some issues and differed from Freud

  • They emphasized, more than Freud, the following:
    • Current social environment play an important role in one՚s life.
    • Life experiences have a continuing influence and childhood alone should not be of prime importance.
    • Positive interpersonal relations of love and social motivation have a significant role.
    • Ego functioning is significant rather than id.
    • Development of self-concept is important.
    • Self-esteem is important.

Alfred Adler (1870 - 1937)

His theory is known as “individual psychology” which in many ways is the opposite of Freud՚s theory. For Freud, individuals are constantly in conflict with one another and with society; Adler saw them seeking relationships and harmony, he looked upon mind as an integrated whole working to help to attain the future goals.

  • Initially he was Freud՚s closest friend.
  • 1911: Diverted and launched his version of psychoanalytic approach.
  • Differed from Freud in:
    • Freud՚s negativity (e. g. Thanatos instincts)
    • Freud՚s idea that libido is the prime impulse

Adler՚s Approach

  • Main concepts: Esteem, inferiority complex, birth order, will to power and style of life
    • We are a product of the social influences on our personality
    • Goals and incentives drive us more than drives and instincts
    • Our goal in life is to achieve success and superiority
  • Inferiority complex: the feeling of being less able than others. It affects one՚s relationship with others and his achievement in many ways.
  • Motivating Forces of Human Life
    • Feeling of inferiority
    • People are primarily motivated to overcome inherent feelings of inferiority
  • Birth Order: has effect on personality. The first- born is different from the last one, and so is the middle- born different from others.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Siblings feel a kind of rivalry toward each other.
  • Psychopathology: Compensation: i.e.. , Compensatory defense mechanism combined with conscious or unconscious feelings of inferiority is the main cause of psychopathological behavior.
  • Function of the Psychoanalyst: To discover and rationalize such feelings and break down the compensatory, neurotic will for power.

Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961)

A Swiss psychiatrist, founder of the analytical school of psychology, Jung presented a complex theory of personality.

  • 1913: left the inner circle of Freud՚s students and colleagues, although he had chosen Jung as his successor.
  • Was mystical in his understanding and description of personality.
  • Had a positive approach toward one՚s ability to control one՚s destiny.
  • His view of human nature is among the most complex ever portrayed.
  • The human psyche is embedded in past, present, and future; it consists of conscious and unconscious elements, rational and irrational impulses, masculine and feminine tendencies, and a tendency to bring all these contradictory tendencies into harmony with each other.
  • Self- actualization is achieved when such harmony exists, but self- actualization must be sought; it does not occur automatically.
  • Believed that the spiritual side must be satisfied, which usually happens in middle age when many of the components of psyche have been discovered.
  • Religion to him is the major vehicle in the journey towards self- actualization.

Jung՚s Disagreements with Freud

  • The understanding and description of the genders.
  • The nature of unconscious.

The main Jungian concepts

  • Major goal of life: Unification of all aspect of our personality:
  • Conscious and Unconscious
  • Introversion (Inner Directed) , Extroverted (Outer Directed)


• Energy for personal growth and development