Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sigmund Freud: The Id, Ego and Superego

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud Biography(1856-1939)
Sigmund Freud was born May 6, 1856
He died September 23, 1939

Life and Career:
When he was young, Sigmund Freud’s family moved from Frieberg, Moravia to Vienna where he would spend most of his life. His parents taught him at home before entering him in Spurling Gymnasium, where he was first in his class and graduated Summa cum Laude.
After studying medicine at the University of Vienna, Freud worked and gained respect as a physician. Through his work with respected French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, Freud became fascinated with the emotional disorder known as hysteria. Later, Freud and his friend and mentor Dr. Josef Breuer introduced him to the case study of a patient known as Anna O., who was really a woman named Bertha Pappenheim. Her symptoms included a nervous cough, tactile anesthesia and paralysis. Over the course of her treatment, the woman recalled several traumatic experiences, which Freud and Breuer believed contributed to her illness.
The two physicians concluded that there was no organic cause for Anna O's difficulties, but that having her talk about her experiences had a calming effect on the symptoms. Freud and Breuer published the work Studies in Hysteria in 1895. It was Bertha Pappenheim herself who referred to the treatment as "the talking cure."
Later works include The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) and Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905). These works became world famous, but Freud’s theory of psychosexual stages has long been a subject of criticism and debate. While his theories are often viewed with skepticism, Freud’s work continues to influence psychology and many other disciplines to this day.

Freud also influenced many other prominent psychologists, including his daughter Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Karen Horney, Alfred Alder, Erik Erikson, and Carl Jung.
Contributions to Psychology:
Regardless of the perception of Sigmund Freud’s theories, there is no question that he had an enormous impact on the field of psychology. His work supported the belief that not all mental illnesses have physiological causes and he also offered evidence that cultural differences have an impact on psychology and behavior. His work and writings contributed to our understanding of personality, clinical psychology, human development and abnormal psychology.

The Id, Ego and Superego
The Structural Model of Personality
According to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, personality is composed of three elements. These three elements of personality--known as the id, the ego and the superego--work together to create complex human behaviors.

The id is the only component of personality that is present from birth. This aspect of personality is entirely unconscious and includes of the instinctive and primitive behaviors. According to Freud, the id is the source of all psychic energy, making it the primary component of personality.
The id is driven by the pleasure principle, which strives for immediate gratification of all desires, wants, and needs. If these needs are not satisfied immediately, the result is a state anxiety or tension. For example, an increase in hunger or thirst should produce an immediate attempt to eat or drink. The id is very important early in life, because it ensures that an infant's needs are met. If the infant is hungry or uncomfortable, he or she will cry until the demands of the id are met.
However, immediately satisfying these needs is not always realistic or even possible. If we were ruled entirely by the pleasure principle, we might find ourselves grabbing things we want out of other people's hands to satisfy our own cravings. This sort of behavior would be both disruptive and socially unacceptable. According to Freud, the id tries to resolve the tension created by the pleasure principle through the primary process, which involves forming a mental image of the desired object as a way of satisfying the need.

The ego is the component of personality that is responsible for dealing with reality. According to Freud, the ego develops from the id and ensures that the impulses of the id can be expressed in a manner acceptable in the real world. The ego functions in both the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious mind.
The ego operates based on the reality principle, which strives to satisfy the id's desires in realistic and socially appropriate ways. The reality principle weighs the costs and benefits of an action before deciding to act upon or abandon impulses. In many cases, the id's impulses can be satisfied through a process of delayed gratification--the ego will eventually allow the behavior, but only in the appropriate time and place.
The ego also discharges tension created by unmet impulses through the secondary process, in which the ego tries to find an object in the real world that matches the mental image created by the id's primary process.

The last component of personality to develop is the superego. The superego is the aspect of personality that holds all of our internalized moral standards and ideals that we acquire from both parents and society--our sense of right and wrong. The superego provides guidelines for making judgments. According to Freud, the superego begins to emerge at around age five.

There are two parts of the superego:
The ego ideal includes the rules and standards for good behaviors. These behaviors include those which are approved of by parental and other authority figures. Obeying these rules leads to feelings of pride, value and accomplishment.

The conscience includes information about things that are viewed as bad by parents and society. These behaviors are often forbidden and lead to bad consequences, punishments or feelings of guilt and remorse.
The superego acts to perfect and civilize our behavior. It works to suppress all unacceptable urges of the id and struggles to make the ego act upon idealistic standards rather that upon realistic principles. The superego is present in the conscious, preconscious and unconscious.

The Interaction of the Id, Ego and Superego
With so many competing forces, it is easy to see how conflict might arise between the id, ego and superego. Freud used the term ego strength to refer to the ego's ability to function despite these dueling forces. A person with good ego strength is able to effectively manage these pressures, while those with too much or too little ego strength can become too unyielding or too disrupting.
According to Freud, the key to a healthy personality is a balance between the id, the ego, and the superego.

The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
The Bottom Line
If you are interested in Sigmund Freud or dream interpretation, this is a must-have text for your collection. As one of Freud's earliest books, the theories and ideas described within The Interpretation of Dreams helped set the stage for psychoanalytic theory.

This classic text is probably the best-known book on dream interpretation.
Freud was a prolific writer, and his work is always engaging and intriguing.
The case studies Freud describes present a glimpse into his psychoanalytic work.

The research described in The Interpretation of Dreams lacks scientific rigor.
Many of Freud’s ideas have received little or no substantiation from current dream research.
Freud's theories have not faired well, especially in recent decades.

The book is the classic text on dream analysis and interpretation.

Freud introduces many key concepts that would later become central to psychoanalysis.

Emphasizes the role of the unconscious mind, which is one of the underlying principles in Freudian psychology.
Guide Review - The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
The Interpretation of Dreams stands as a unique and classic work in the history of psychology. No matter what you may think of Sigmund Freud’s psychological theories, the cultural impact and historical importance of this book are without question. For those interested in dream research, this book serves as an excellent introduction to many of his major ideas. 

Freud was an incredibly prolific writer, publishing more than 320 different books, articles, and essays. Out of this impressive body of work, Freud described The Interpretation of Dreams as his personal favorite as well has his most significant contribution to the understanding of human thought. "[It] contains… the most valuable of all the discoveries it has been my good fortune to make. Insight such as this falls to one's lot but once in a lifetime," he explained.

Originally published in German under the title Die Traumdeutung in November of 1899, initial sales for The Interpretation of Dreams were slow and disappointing.

The book outlines Freud’s belief that dreams are highly symbolic, containing both overt meanings (manifest content) as well as underlying, unconscious thoughts (latent content). Dreams, he suggested, are our unconscious wishes in disguise. Despite Freud’s tendency to over-generalize, his lack of scientific evidence, his overemphasis on sex, and his frequently chauvinistic viewpoints, this seminal work remains important in the history of psychology. The Interpretation of Dreams marked the beginning of psychoanalysis and is a fascinating text revealing Freud’s unique talent as a writer and ambitious theorist.

The Id, Ego and Superego

The Interpretation of Dreams



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