Theory of Personality Development

Describe and evaluate Freud's theory of personality development
Sigmund Freud was without doubt one of the most controversial psychologists of the twentieth century. His theories of psychoanalysis-personality structure, dynamics, psychosexual development, mechanism, and psychotherapy technique were really accepted at the time. However he did have his critics. Not only opposing psychologists doubted his theories but also some of his own followers. Within this essay we shall look at certain theories that Freud had and also look at some of the opposing ideas from his critics.
According to Freud the mind or personality included the ID, EGO and SUPEREGO, and mans behaviour relies on a balance of these structures. The id contains those basic instincts which require satisfaction, known as the pleasure principle. For example, a baby wants something and will cry until he gets it; this basic instinct is with us from birth. The superego is essentially the person's conscience. This is made up of values and ideals that are taught from the world about, in thefirst instance the parents. Superego develops in response to parental rewards and punishments. The ego differentiates between the basic instincts of the id and the reality of the real world, also known as the reality principle. All objects of consciousness abide in the ego; the superego is an unconscious screening mechanism which seeks to limit the blind pleasure seeking drives of the id by imposing restrictive rules. What must be remembered is that this model is only a theoretical model rather than a description of an observable object; it only serves as a frame of reference to explain the link between experiences of early childhood and the mature adult personality. The ego is frequently in conflict with the id. The id wants gratification; the superego strives for what is morally right. The ego acts as arbitrator in this conflict and will try to find a compromise.
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