Define the three intrapsychic components of id

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Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

• Identify Sigmund Freud as the father of psychoanalysis, and explain the significance of the discovery of the unconscious.

• Define the three intrapsychic components of id, ego, superego, and explain how Freud thought they operated.

• Explain Freud’s levels of consciousness and his theories regarding instincts and defense mechanisms.

• Identify and explain the psychosexual stages of development.

• Describe some of the research that supports and refutes psychoanalytic theory.

• Identify key contributions to psychoanalytic theory offered by Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Karen Horney, and Anna Freud.

• List and describe the psychodynamic methods of assessment.

Psychoanalytic and Neo-Analytic Theories of Personality 2

Chapter Outline Introduction

2.1 Biography and Sociocultural Setting of Freud and His Early Work

2.2 Psychoanalytic Theory • The Fundamentals • The Three Central Tenets of Psychoanalytic

Theory • The Basic Instincts: Sex and Aggression

2.3 The Structural Components of Personality • Topography of the Mind • Structural Components of the Mind • Anxiety • Defense Mechanisms • Neurosis and Symptom Formation

2.4 Stages of Psychosexual Development • Oral Stage • Anal Stage • Phallic Stage • Latency Stage • Genital Stage • Character Traits and Disorders in Psycho-

sexual Development • Critique and Conclusions on Freud’s Theo-

retical Contributions

2.5 The Neo-Analytic Movement • Carl Jung and the Collective Unconscious • Alfred Adler and Inferiority Complex • Anna Freud and Child Psychology • Karen Horney and Repressed Womanhood

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CHAPTER 2

Introduction In October of 1998, 21-year-old Matthew Wayne Shepard, a student at the Univer- sity of Wyoming, was tortured one night by two young men and subsequently died of the severe head injuries he sustained. This case garnered national attention when, during the trial, it became apparent that Matthew was targeted because he was gay. Sadly, this is just one of the many hate crimes that continue to take place on a daily basis across the country and around the world.

Of course, not all anti-gay behavior manifests as physical violence. In 2009, Mag- nolia Pictures released the documentary Outrage, which targets political fig- ures who have an aggressive anti-gay voting record (e.g., against gay marriage, against adoptions by gay parents, against HIV research, etc.), but who, accord- ing to the filmmaker, have secret lives involving gay relationships. The film raises the possibility that the underlying motivation for the aggressive anti-gay voting records is to express a self-hatred that is turned outward against others.

Examples in the public sphere of such counter-intuitive behaviors are not rare. Evangelical pastor Ted Haggard, who founded and led a megachurch in Colorado Springs, CO, preached and threw his political support behind a Colorado amend- ment that would ban gay marriage. However, in 2006, Mr. Haggard resigned from his leadership positions after it became widely known that he had been involved in a gay relationship with a male massage therapist. Additional information sur- faced to indicate that this was not a one-time event with a single individual, but rather a broader pattern of behavior that Mr. Haggard ultimately acknowledged and attributed to a childhood experience of sexual abuse. In another example, former U.S. Congressman Mark Foley was active in helping to pass laws against the sexual abuse of minors and was a strong opponent of child pornography. Yet, in 2006, he resigned from Congress after allegations emerged that he had sent sexually explicit text messages to underage males who either had served or were currently serving as male congressional pages.

It is important to note that all of us engage in counter-intuitive behavior at times, where our motives are hard to discern. (Fortunately, we are not scrutinized in the same way as public figures.) What can explain such behavior? Why not simply

Introduction

2.6 Psychodynamic Methods of Assessment • The Technique of Psychoanalysis • The Technique of Free Association • The Technique of Dream Analysis • The Word Association Task • The Rorschach Inkblot Test • The Thematic Apperception Test

Summary

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CHAPTER 2 2.1 Biography and Sociocultural Setting of Freud and His Early Work

steer clear of such issues, rather than publically and vociferously acting in a man- ner that opposes private behavior and underlying motivation?

This chapter provides a close examination of the psychoanalytic theory that can be applied to such actions and, in fact, seems to be most applicable to these appar- ent contradictions. It provides an overview of psychoanalytic theory and identi- fies the major theoretical contributions. It introduces Sigmund Freud and some of the pioneering psychoanalytic theorists and clinicians who have shaped the field. Most importantly, this chapter identifies a series of research questions derived from psychoanalytic theory, and explores some primary research that attempts to answer those questions—for example, is there an unconscious and can it influence our behavior without our awareness? We begin with an introduction to Freud and the context within which his theory was developed.

2.1 Biography and Sociocultural Setting of Freud and His Early Work

Cultural and historical influences have much to do with a person’s way of thinking. It is impor-tant, therefore, to place Freud’s work in the context of the time in which he developed his groundbreaking work. Sigmund Freud was born in Freiburg, Moravia, on May 6, 1856, the oldest of seven children. Freud was raised in the Victorian era, a time when dignity and restraint were valued. He grew up in a culture where sexual expression, especially among the bourgeoisie (middle class), was very restricted, especially in terms of what was publicly acceptable. Freud, growing up, did not experi- ence open discussion or even recognition of human sexual expression (Gay, 1988).

He entered medical school at the University of Vienna in 1873 and was awarded his medical degree in 1881. His first position was at the Institute of Cerebral Anatomy, where he conducted research comparing fetal and adult brains. He entered private practice as a neurologist because of the limited financial rewards of research and an anti-Semitic attitude (Freud was Jewish) that was prevalent in academia. He was strongly influenced by his studies with Jean Charcot, a well- known therapist who specialized in treating hysteria with hypnosis. Hysteria, a condition in which affected individuals convert their inner conflicts to physical symptoms, which are sometimes quite crippling, was considered a major disorder at that time. Freud was inspired, as were many others, by Charcot’s dramatic clinical demonstrations, and his interest in neurology quickly gave way to his new passion for psychopathology and the study of hysteria. (Note: Psychopathology is the clinical and scientific study of the disturbed mind. Psyche refers to the mind and pathology means illness.)

Freud was also influenced by Josef Breuer, who he met at the Institute of Physiology in the 1870s, and they became close friends and scientific collaborators. Breuer was an Austrian physi- cian whose works had begun to lay the foundation for psychoanalysis. As Schwartz (1999) notes, “Inspired by Charcot and impressed by Breuer’s results, on his return to Vienna from Paris in 1886 Freud actively collaborated with Joseph Breuer on the problem of hysteria” (p. 44).

Freud spent much of the earlier part of his career on the subject of hysteria. Between 1894 and 1896, Freud presented seven papers on the origins of hysteria as the result of sexual trauma

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CHAPTER 2 2.1 Biography and Sociocultural Setting of Freud and His Early Work

(he called this trauma theory). “Freud described severe cases, some coming to him after long unsuccessful institutional treatment, all of whom suffered trauma which had to be ‘classed as grave sexual injuries; some of them positively revolting’ ” (Schwartz, 1999, p. 66). Freud’s decision to relate hysteria to sexual trauma likely had its roots in the early work of Egyptian physicians and Greek philosophers, who each believed that symptoms of hysteria were due to improper position- ing of the uterus. Interestingly, the treatment for this supposed misalignment involved fumigating the vagina (Alexander & Selesnik, 1966).

The patients that he treated, first with hypnosis and then with psychoanalysis, showed the effects of repressive Victorian society in their own repression of urges. Repression is a psychological defense mechanism that is used to keep painful experiences and unacceptable impulses out of conscious awareness. What Freud observed and taught about repression was not entirely novel. However, Freud systematically studied how repressive forces operate and discovered that when an individual—or a society—is severely repressed, outbreaks of hysteria are common.

Although less prevalent, symptoms indicative of hysteria are still seen today, and manifest as either dissociative disorders, which typically involve interrupted memory and some loss of aware- ness and identity, or somatoform disorders, which involve physical symptoms that either origi- nate as, or are strongly influenced by, psychological experiences. In fact, in reviewing some of the historical incidents of hysteria, it is interesting to note the frequency with which it occurs in gender- segregated contexts. In Malaysia in the 1970s and 80s, for example, school-age girls and young women work- ing in factories were believed to have been affected by “spirits.” More recently in Mexico in 2007, an out- break of unusual symptoms occurred for females at a Catholic boarding school. In 2010 in Brunei (southeast Asia), adolescents at two all-girl secondary schools manifested behavior such as screaming, shaking, and crying due to the belief that they were “possessed.” Although not exclusive to females in repressed societ- ies or in female-only contexts, there does appear to be a greater incidence among women in such repres- sive settings, and this would parallel the fact that most of Freud’s patients with hysteria were likewise female. Freud attributed this female bias to anatomy (the uterus), but later work focused on the fact that woman are disproportionately repressed relative to men in society (see Karen Horney’s work discussed later in this chapter). Manifestations of group hysteria, where teenagers’ behavior is overwhelmed by their impulses, sometimes to the point of fainting, also illustrate a phenomenon called emotional contagion. Emotional contagion can sometimes lead a group into highly destructive and even deadly behaviors, such as have occurred in the United Kingdom during some soccer games.

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Hysterical pregnancy (or pseudocyesis), in which a man or woman exhibits the symptoms of pregnancy without actually being pregnant, is one example of a conversion disorder.

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CHAPTER 2 2.2 Psychoanalytic Theory

Perhaps the closest parallel today to hysteria is conversion disorder, where one manifests a physi- cal symptom in place of a psychological symptom. One of the more interesting examples of this can be seen in one of Freud’s most famous cases: Anna O, a young woman who apparently expe- rienced an hysterical pregnancy, which is when a person experiences the physical symptoms of pregnancy but is not pregnant. Today, this is somewhat rare and is referred to as pseudocyesis or false pregnancy. Pseudocyesis, which was first documented by Hippocrates in approximately 300 BCE, can involve such symptoms as amenorrhea, morning sickness, weight gain, and tender breasts. It has also been documented in men.

Freud wed Martha Bernays in 1886. They had six children, the most prominent of whom, Anna, became a psychoanalyst. She greatly advanced her father’s work, especially in applying his theory to the treatment of children.

Freud was forced to leave Austria prior to World War II, and he settled briefly in England. It was at this later stage in his career that Freud began to emphasize a second instinct underlying human behavior: a death instinct. (Earlier in his life he had emphasized a sexual instinct, presumably paralleling his own primary motives.) He suffered tremendously from cancer of the jaw, probably caused by his prodigious—thirty a day—cigar habit. He endured thirty-two operations but suc- cumbed to the disease in 1939.

2.2 Psychoanalytic Theory

The “discovery of the unconscious” and the development of the psychoanalytic method as a form of scientific inquiry heralded the birth of modern psychotherapy and stands as one of the intellectual milestones of the twentieth century (Schwartz, 1999). Freud’s terminol- ogy permeates contemporary language and shapes culture to a remarkable degree. Hardly a day goes by that one does not hear Freudian terms. Even far outside the professional psychological community, familiarity with many Freudian concepts, such as defense mechanisms, unconscious processes, id, ego, and superego, is commonplace. People talk of repressing their feelings or sup- pressing memories, projecting their issues, sublimating, and so forth. The word ego has become a mainstay of popular culture. Biographers often use various aspects of psychoanalysis to deepen our understanding of the people about whom they write. Even popular books, movies, and televi- sion shows depict or satirize some of Freud’s fundamental concepts.

What Freud set into motion with his unifying theoretical system—his metapsychology, meaning an attempt to go beyond what was known about the mind—was a new emphasis on our inner workings, hidden motivations, and primitive instinctual forces. In fact, Freud not only acknowl- edged these underlying motives, but suggested that they were more important than what could be found in consciousness. Freud argued that these instinctual forces, primarily sexual and aggres- sive impulses, are constrained by society, yet they exercise a profound influence on our behav- ior and our interpersonal relationships. Freud’s theoretical formulations, despite years of intense scrutiny and a backlash against some of his more controversial ideas, remain influential for many contemporary personality theories, and they continue to stimulate research.

The Fundamentals Psychoanalytic theory is a comprehensive metatheory (i.e., going beyond psychology, with what knowledge we had at the time that it originated). It deals with the structure and operation of the

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CHAPTER 2 2.2 Psychoanalytic Theory

mind, the formation of personality through stages of psychosexual development, the develop- ment of psychopathologies, and psychoanalytic methods for treating psychological disorders.

Psychoanalysis was born when Freud abandoned hypnosis in favor of the technique of free association, the uncensored expression of feelings, thoughts, and fantasies. “The patient talks, tells of his past experiences and present impressions, complains, confesses to his wishes and his emotional impulses” (Freud, 1966).

In his clinical work, Freud was faced with many reports of incest, and he ini- tially took them at face value. This led him to believe that sexual trauma was at the root of most psychopathology. He later modified his trauma theory, suggesting instead that incest “memo- ries” were usually fantasies produced by the patient. In the end, Freud changed his emphasis from trauma theory to the Oedipal complex (a son’s desire to possess his mother and jealousy and anger toward his father) to account for the many instances of sexual abuse his patients disclosed. “Fundamental to Freud’s thinking about the mind was a simple assumption: If there is a discon- tinuity in consciousness—something the person is doing but cannot report or

explain—then the relevant mental processes necessary to ‘fill in the gaps’ must be unconscious” (Westen & Gabbard, 1999, p. 59). This assumption was profound and would create considerable controversy (Schwartz, 1999), which continues today in an emotional debate surrounding the validity of recovered memories of abuse. Specifically, some psychoanalytically informed theorists and researchers (e.g., Kluft, 1987) suggest that repressed memories of trauma and abuse can lead to disorders such as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID; formerly Multiple Personality Disorder). However, other researchers have been very critical of this hypothesis, suggesting that there is considerable fallibility in both those who make the diagnosis of DID (Levitt, 1988) and the process of recovering any memories (Loftus & Davis, 2006), especially those involving abuse (Lilienfeld et al., 1999). Resolving the debate of how to best differentiate actual memories of abuse and trauma from false memories will be of great importance for both clinicians and researchers (e.g., Belli, 2012; Gorman, 2008; Milchman, 2012).

Psychoanalysis was not only a theory of personality; it was also a method of investigation that was well suited to tapping into the unconscious, as well as a method of treatment (Westen & Gabbard, 1999). Arguably because psychoanalysis simultaneously served all of these functions, it was more susceptible to tautological errors. Had independent methods been used to tap the unconscious or treat the patient, this might have allowed for a more thorough testing of Freud’s ideas.

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Freud believed that the technique of free association could provide a window into the patient’s unconscious.

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CHAPTER 2 2.3 The Structural Components of Personality

The Three Central Tenets of Psychoanalytic Theory Psychoanalytic theory has three central tenets. The first is that all human behavior is driven by sex- ual and aggressive instincts. The second is that people experience conflict, between the individual and society as well as within each individual. The third is that psychoanalytic theory assumes that all significant aspects of psychological functioning (including the aforementioned instincts and conflict) are unknown to the individual.

The Basic Instincts: Sex and Aggression Instincts are central to Freudian theory. Freud postulated two primary instinctual drives: the sexual (or libidinal) and the aggressive. He theorized that these were opposing drives. The libido (some- times referred to as Eros, the Greek god of love and sexual desire) represents the life instinct; aggression is a form of the death instinct (sometimes called Thanatos, a minor mythological Greek figure). Psychoanalysis emphasized the sex drive as the main source of psychic energy (Westen & Gabbard, 1999).

The importance of the sex drive was seen in Freud’s early work. Initially, he believed that psycho- pathology was due to sexual difficulties, and he even recommended more sexual activity as a cure for anxiety (e.g., Macmillan, 1997). However, he also suggested that other problems would arise due to masturbation. Freud had similar views regarding aggression: Too little and the individual would suffer from a passive personality, but too much might lead to hyper-aggression. Excessive aggressive impulses can be channeled into various types of psychopathology, such as perversions or personality disorders such as hysteria, obsessional neurosis, and passive aggression. When indi- viduals are functioning well, they are able to use aggression in an appropriately competitive, self- protective, and assertive fashion. Freud believed that the key to mental health is to balance these forces so that the relationship between our needs and those of others are in equilibrium.

2.3 The Structural Components of Personality

Psychoanalysis is a structural theory, in that it offers us a blueprint of the structure of the psyche and an account of the interplay among the various psychic agents. This section intro-duces the basic structure and the interplay between the unconscious, the preconscious, and conscious awareness.

Topography of the Mind Freud’s model of the mind’s topography is depicted in Figure 2.1. This is not a map of the brain, but a theoretical conception of how the mind organizes experience and how its various compo- nents interrelate. The main divisions are the unconscious, preconscious, and conscious sectors. These divisions of mental structure are central to Freud’s theory and are defined as follows:

• Unconscious: Refers to the portion of the mind of which we are unaware. It includes impulses, fantasy, and primary processes. This represents the vast majority of the mind, though unconscious material is often completely inaccessible. Indeed, even if material can be moved from the unconscious to the preconscious and eventually to conscious awareness, it takes a long time and considerable therapy.

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CHAPTER 2 2.3 The Structural Components of Personality

Figure 2.1: Topographical representation of Freud’s theory on the mind and the role of anxiety and repression

Much of Freud’s theory is focused on the interplay between the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious and how defense mechanisms function.

• Preconscious: The preconscious is the portion of the mind where unconscious material is transformed or “worked over” by defense mechanisms such as condensation and dis- placement. Any material that is moving from the unconscious to conscious awareness first must go through the preconscious. Unlike the unconscious, which requires intensive ther- apy before an individual can get a glimpse of its contents, the preconscious can be moved to awareness simply by directing attention to the material. Researchers subsequently operationalized the term the cognitive unconscious, which was quite distinct from Freud’s unconscious, and more akin to his concept of the preconscious (see Kihlstrom, 1987). This is an important issue in the research to be described.

• Conscious: The conscious portion of the mind contains the aspects of ourselves of which we are aware. Freud believed this represented a very small part of our mind.

Structural Components of the Mind Freud described three major components of mental structure: the id, ego, and superego (see Figure 2.2). These structures were characterized as having a developmental sequence, with the id being present at birth, followed later by the ego, and eventually the superego. Freud also believed that the id was only influenced by instincts; as other external sources exert their influence, then the ego and superego can develop. Each of these structures is here described in more detail.

Conscious

Preconscious

Unconscious Anxiety

Repression

Sexual and aggressive impulses

Defensive layer

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CHAPTER 2 2.3 The Structural Components of Personality

Figure 2.2: The interplay of Freud’s id, ego, and superego

Intrapsychic conflict is a staple of Freud’s theory, and the structures that sustain that conflict are depicted here.

Conscience; “Ego ideal”

Instinctual organization (sexual and aggressive

drives)

Compromise and

adaptation Reality

principle

EGO

ID SUPEREGO

Id

Freud stated that the id is the first of the structures to influence behavior. The id includes the instincts or drives with which we are born, and it is driven by primary process thinking; that is, its thinking derives from inner thoughts and fantasies that are egocentric in nature and lacking in objectivity. Freud argued that the id resides primarily in the unconscious and has no contact with objective reality.

The id operates by what Freud termed the pleasure principle: the attempt to avoid pain and maximize pleasure. The id constantly seeks to discharge any buildup of tension and to return to a state of comfort or homeostasis. When hungry, it compels us to eat, and when there is a buildup of sexual tension, it looks for release without regard for consequences—hence it is called a primary process.

Primary process discharges tension by using the imagery of an object to remove the tension. This can occur because the wish is buried in the unconscious, so its resolution can also be in the uncon- scious. The resolution imagery (or hallucinatory experience) represents wish fulfillment. Primary process can be expressed in fantasy or in dreams. Almost everyone engages in some form of sex- ual or narcissistic (self-gratification) fantasy to reduce tension. For example, after being belittled in an office meeting by one’s employer, the targeted employee might daydream about the outcome of an upcoming tennis match in which his boss is humiliated in defeat. Individuals who are overly dominated by primary process are usually psychotic. They are overly dependent on fantasy as a way of gaining gratification; in other words, real life is not sufficiently gratifying for them.

Although being dominated by the id can indicate psychopathology for adults, normally functioning infants are thought to fully experience this primitive stage. Their focus is on the gratification of instinctual urges, without consideration of the consequences of their actions. Freud also argued

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CHAPTER 2 2.3 The Structural Components of Personality

that such urges are subject to instant gratification, meaning that the urge or desire must be satis- fied right away. In fact, a key developmental milestone is when children are able to start delaying their gratification, meaning that they can put off satisfying an urge, knowing that it can be satisfied in the future. According to Freud, the id is the structure that creates physical drive (e.g., libido) and energizes us, and is the original level of personality from which the ego and superego become differentiated as development proceeds.

Ego

The ego is the psychic structure whose primary function is that of mediation. Freud believed that our lives are filled with conflict, and he believed that our ability to function effectively was deter- mined in large part by our ability to mediate these conflicts. Thus, a well-functioning ego is critical to adaptive behavior.

There are two direct sources of conflict that the ego must mediate. The first is the conflict between the instinctual, gratification-seeking aims of the id and the demands and restrictions of the external world (society). In other words, the id seeks instant gratification of basic desires, but society places practical constraints on one’s ability to address those desires, at least in a public forum. The second source of conflict is internal, and arises between the self-gratifying demands of the id and the unrealistic expectations of the superego, which reflects what we should do (more on this shortly).

The ego functions on the reality principle, which is the recognition that gratification is subject to what reality makes possible. In a sense, with the development of the ego, reality attempts to supersede the gratification-seeking pleasure principle of the id. Now the ego incorporates reality testing into the individual’s functioning so that realistic aims and plans can be carried out in place of unreasonable desires. Reality testing is essentially an information-processing function in which the consequences of actions are weighed against the value of gratification. This means that one of the main functions of the ego is to problem-solve appropriate ways of satisfying the individual’s needs. The ego works in conjunction with the id, attempting to balance impulses, but also using the id’s energy to provide drive, creativity, and motivation. When there is a breakdown of the ego, individuals lose most of their ability to perceive reality adequately and to control the force of primary process. The result is that constraints on behavior are often temporarily removed, and individuals may engage in highly unacceptable and even criminal behavior.

Superego

In Freud’s theory, the superego is the mental structure that represents the internalization of soci- ety’s values and morals, as portrayed by parental figures and social institutions. The superego, which operates by the morality principle, represents how the individual should behave. It arises as the child learns to differentiate good and bad behavior, and it is influenced by the punishment and praise that parents provide and by the consequences of behavior. Importantly, because the super- ego is, like the id, buried in the unconscious, it also has no contact with reality. Thus, the morality espoused is not normal morality, but ideal morality and perfection. When over-functioning, it can lead to what is described as a punitive superego, which may require the self to suffer guilt that can lead to neurotic behavior and, in its extreme form, can be expressed in psychopathological adap- tations, such as masochism or self-sabotaging behavior. Our conscience is the part of our superego that determines the right course of action, trying to balance personal needs and societal-familial expectations. Guilt arises in the system when we ignore what our conscience tells us.

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CHAPTER 2 2.3 The Structural Components of Personality

Anxiety A well-functioning psyche reflects an id and superego that are perfectly balanced by the activities of the ego. However, when this balance is not achieved (and this was a common outcome, accord- ing to Freud), the result is the experience of anxiety.

Freud’s described three basic categories of anxiety: moral, realistic, and neurotic. Moral anxiety refers to the tension generated when the id gains too much control over the ego. This is due to the fact that the superego demands that the individual live up to the ego ideal; when this does not occur, the superego induces guilt. Realistic anxiety is a rational response to actual danger, which triggers a flight-fight-or-freeze response. It reflects how the nervous system evolved to protect us from danger and is mediated by some of the older systems of the brain (parts of the limbic sys- tem). Thus, realistic anxiety requires an immediate response: Stay and fight, run and escape, or freeze and submit to the danger (Sapolsky, 2004). In contrast, neurotic anxiety has a kind of “free- floating” quality unrelated to any immediate threat. Neurotic anxiety is sometimes converted into various symptoms, such as obsessional neurosis, where the individual engages in compulsions that serve to reduce the anxiety so that it does not become overwhelming. This behavior is also reflected in our modern day diagnostic labels—specifically, obsessive-compulsive disorder.

One of the most common presentations in clinical practice today, especially among women, is something termed generalized anxiety disorder (Grant et al., 2009) a concept very similar to Freud’s neurotic anxiety. Generalized anxiety disorder is marked by pervasive feelings of anxiety that are unrelated to any obvious threat. Freud believed that this type of generalized anxiety (he also referred to expectant anxiety) was one of the main features of neuroses.

So how do we manage the anxiety? Freud outlined a large number of defense mechanisms employed by the ego to combat anxiety, and most of the time they work. However, on some occasions, our defense mechanisms don’t work, and in those instances the unconscious material slips out. Consider what has become known as “Freudian slips,” where we may say something we didn’t mean to say, but it may still represent something that was on our mind (see Baars, 1992, for a review). The defense mechanisms are summarized in the next section.

Defense Mechanisms One of Freud’s many astute observations was that of defensive functioning. Informed by his clini- cal case studies, and undoubtedly considerable introspection, Freud catalogued dozens of ways in which individuals try to protect themselves from the effects of anxiety. Freud came to believe that these defenses were commonplace, as he observed their occurrence in everyone. His daughter, Anna Freud, added considerably to the list of defenses, and to date over 100 of them have been catalogued (Blackman, 2004).

A defense mechanism is a mental operation that protects an individual against anxiety that might result when primary process material threatens to break through to the conscious or pre- conscious mind. For example, a recently widowed mother of two may need to defend against the anxiety that results from being alone, and so she continues to set the dinner table for her deceased husband. This may be an example of a defense mechanism called denial. Denial reduces the conflict, but as long as the denial “works,” the problematic behavior continues. In this case, the widow never really comes to terms with the passing of her husband. Freud considered denial to be one of the most basic defense mechanisms, and in a sense, it lies at the heart of all other defenses. That is, we will see that the other defenses seem to involve denial plus some additional psychological reaction.

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CHAPTER 2 2.3 The Structural Components of Personality

One of the more advanced defenses, according to Freud, is sublimation, the defense mechanism through which the individual finds ways of transforming unacceptable urges into more acceptable behaviors. Aggression in sports, or even pursuing an art, is sometimes cited as an example of the sublimation of unacceptable aggressive urges into more appropriate, and even adaptive, outlets. Freud also wrote about surgeons, who he believed sublimated their aggressive instinct (it is hard to imagine a more aggressive behavior than cutting someone open with a scalpel) into something productive—the healing of medical illnesses through surgery.

An especially complicated defense mechanism is reaction formation, in which one adopts atti- tudes and engages in behaviors that are in direct, overt opposition to threatening unconscious impulses, in order to defend against those impulses. The theory behind this defense mechanism is that the threatening internal experience (thought or emotion) is so great that simply denying it is not only insufficient, but impossible. As a result, the individual must overcompensate by acting in direct opposition to it (i.e., some of the overt behaviors are in direct opposition to the internal experience, though the internal experience is unconscious). Several examples of reaction forma- tion are included in this chapter, beginning with the opening segment (see the experiences of Ted Haggard and Mark Foley), and this defense mechanism is examined more closely in “Putting Psychodynamic Theory to the Test: Part 2” in this chapter.

Freud’s identification and elaboration of defense mechanisms has added much to our understand- ing of personality psychology and continues to contribute to our understanding of how we use them to adapt (Holi, Sammallahti, & Aalberg, 1999). For a more complete list of Freud’s defense mechanisms, see Table 2.1.

Table 2.1: Common defense mechanisms

Defense Definition Example

Acting out Translating conflicts into action with little or no intervening reflection.

A student disrupts class because she is angry over an unfair grade.

Denial Refusing to acknowledge some painful external or subjective reality obvious to others.

A woman refuses to acknowledge a pregnancy despite positive test results.

Devaluation Attributing unrealistic negative qualities to self or others as a means of punishing the self or reducing the impact of the devalued item.

A student suddenly criticizes as a terrible teacher a formerly admired professor who has given him a D on a term paper.

Displacement Displacing conflicts from a threatening object onto a less threatening one.

A student who has been criticized by his instructor in history class comes home from school and starts an argument with a younger sibling.

Dissociation Dealing with conflict by disrupting the integration of consciousness, memory, or accurate perception of the internal and external world.

After breaking up with a lover, a suicidal student is suddenly unable to recall the time during which they were together.

Fantasy Avoiding conflict by creating imaginary situations that satisfy drives or desires.

A student from a troubled home daydreams about going to college to become a famous psychologist.

(continued)

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CHAPTER 2 2.3 The Structural Components of Personality

Defense Definition Example

Idealization Attributing unrealistic positive qualities to self or others.

A student worried about his intellectual ability begins to idolize a tutor.

Isolation of affect Defusing conflict by separating ideas from affects, thus retaining an awareness of intellectual or factual aspects but losing touch with threatening emotions.

A biology student sacrifices a laboratory animal without worrying about its right to existence, quality of life, or emotional state.

Omnipotence Creating an image of oneself as incredibly powerful, intelligent, or superior to overcome threatening possibilities or feelings.

A student facing a difficult final exam asserts that there is nothing about the material that she doesn’t know.

Projection Disowning unacceptable emotions or personal qualities by attributing them to others.

A student attributes his own anger to the professor, and thereby comes to see himself as a persecuted victim.

Projection identification

Projecting unpleasant feelings and reactions onto others and declaring that the reaction is in response to the recipient’s behavior.

A student attributes her own anger to the professor but sees her response as a justifiable reaction to persecution.

Rationalization Constructing after the fact an explanation for behavior to justify one’s action in the eyes of self or others.

A professor who unknowingly creates an impossible exam justifies it on the basis that it is necessary to shock students back to serious study.

Reaction formation Containing unacceptable thoughts or impulses by adopting a position that expresses the opposite.

A student who hates some identifiable group writes an article protesting their unfair treatment by the university.

Repression Withholding forbidden thoughts and wishes from conscious awareness.

A student’s jealous desire to murder a rival is denied access to conscious awareness.

Splitting Maintaining opposite viewpoints about a single object, keeping these opinions in deliberately unintegrated opposition, which results in cycles of idealization and devaluation as either extreme is projected onto self and others.

A student vacillates between worship and contempt for a professor, sometimes seeing her as intelligent and powerful and himself as ignorant and weak, and then switching roles, depending on their interactions.

Sublimation Channeling unacceptable into socially acceptable behavior.

A student who is competitive and aggressive towards his siblings funnels those impulses into academic efforts and successes.

*Undoing Attempting to rid oneself of guilt through behavior that compensates the injured party actually or symbolically.

A professor who designs a test that is too difficult creates an excess of easy extra-credit assignments.

* The more modern concept of counterfactual thinking is somewhat equivalent to undoing.

Source: Millon, T., & Davis, R. D. (1996a). An evolutionary theory of personality disorders. In J. F. Clarkin, M. F. Lenzenweger (Eds.). Major theories of personality disorder (pp. 221–346). New York, NY: Guilford Press, p. 226. Reprinted by permission of Guilford Publications.

Table 2.1: Common defense mechanisms (continued)

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CHAPTER 2 2.4 Stages of Psychosexual Development

Neurosis and Symptom Formation Freud developed his theory to explain the development of psychological symptoms and clini- cal syndromes, such as then-common hysterias and phobias. He called all of these conditions neuroses. A neurosis consists of a cluster of symptoms typified by anxiety or indecision and some degree of social maladjustment. In a sense, the symptoms are a compromise between urges and drives and social and environmental constraints. They allow partial expression of the drive, but also may include an aspect of self-punishment: One needs to suffer when one’s instinctual organi- zation is activated beyond a level that can be regulated by the psychic structures.

As Freud explains neuroses, they often involve past events that were associated with high anxiety, fear, or trauma. In time, memory of the event disappears or is repressed, but the energy associ- ated with it may later be expressed in symptoms of neuroses. Symptoms such as phobias, compul- sions, and obsessions are the way the unconscious mind transfers energy from the conflict into something that expresses the energy, but hides the conflict from the affected individual (Freud, 1966, p. 298). For example, if an individual has an obsession with dirt on the hands and a compul- sion to constantly wash them (obsessive-compulsive disorder), freud might argue that the person is in fact wracked with guilt over some behavior, and the repetitive act highlights the guilt and the attempts to cleanse the self of the guilt. The preconscious mind often expresses this “forgotten” conflict in altered form in dreams, slips of the tongue, or even daydreams.

2.4 Stages of Psychosexual Development

Freud’s theory represents the first comprehensive developmental or stage model, and he recognized that development progresses in a hierarchical, stage-like manner, in which mastery of the previous stage is important to one’s ability to negotiate subsequent ones. Freud’s theory of human development and personality formation is reflected in his description of psychosexual development. The sexual instincts, also referred to as libido, are one of the major forces in this developmental process, hence the label psychosexual development. Libidinal pres- sure—the sexually based urged to survive and procreate (also termed the life instinct)—fuels development.

Freud theorized that individuals progress through a series of psychosexual stages. Each of these stages emphasizes different developmental tasks and challenges, and Freud suggested that libido is focused on a particular part of the body during each of these stages. For a variety of reasons, an individual can become fixated (i.e., stuck) in one of these stages, and this results in different personality types.

We will here outline each of the stages, and the personality types that might emerge based on fixations in each stage, keeping in mind that all of the intrapsychic events to be described were hypothesized to occur in the unconscious (i.e., one would have no awareness of them).

Oral Stage The first stage of life, lasting until about age 2, is termed by Freud as the oral stage. The term oral is used because of the infant’s proclivity to explore the world largely through his or her mouth. Moreover, one of the most important events occurring at this time is breastfeeding (or bottle feeding), which not only provides nourishment, but also warmth and intimate contact. It is also

Diego Cervo/iStock/Thinkstock

An unresolved oral stage in childhood may result in an oral fixation in adulthood. Nail biting is one manifestation of oral fixation.

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CHAPTER 2 2.4 Stages of Psychosexual Development

named as such because it is marked by the need to suck, which is a powerful, biologically based survival reflex. During this stage, gratification and satisfac- tion are received primarily through other oral activi- ties, including thumb sucking and swallowing. Hence the libido is expressed in the oral region. Although these represent the specific behaviors that the infant is engaged in, Freud suggested that the greater sig- nificance is that this establishes a model for satisfying needs later in life.

Perhaps of greatest importance in the oral stage is the process of weaning, as this signals the infant’s pro- gression in life to a more independent state. Freud believed that weaning might be traumatic if it is too abrupt or uncaring, and the trauma might later be apparent in character traits and habits of the adult. Freud believed that when the infant is either weaned too soon or too abruptly or, on the other hand, weaned too late, that the child would become fixated (stuck) in the oral stage, meaning that the child’s personality would reflect difficulties negotiating the satisfaction of basic needs.

Freud identified two personality types that might result from oral fixations. Oral dependency is thought to occur because the infant was weaned too late so that they were overly dependent on their mother for too long. Freud predicted that this dependency would play out in adult relationships, with these individuals requiring and expecting a great deal of attention and support from others. In contrast, oral aggression refers to the personality that occurs when the weaning has occurred too soon or too abruptly. Freud believed that as adults, these individuals would aggress against others in order to have their needs met because they would feel as though they had been short-changed in life.

Anal Stage The next stage, lasting until about age 4, is the anal stage, during which the primary source of pleasure is derived from the voiding of feces. This period of socialization generally sets the stage for the first significant conflict between parents and child (i.e., toilet training). Parents want their children toilet trained, but children are not always willing or able. Parents reward children for complying and express disappointment when they have “accidents.” Thus, the central theme of this stage is that the child is developing a sense of how to autonomously manage an important bodily function, and this is accomplished by negotiating for control with their parents.

Referring back to the development of the structural components of the mind, Freud believed that it is at this time that the ego starts to differentiate from the id, and the reality principle begins to appear. There is the beginning of crude superego functioning with the development of the shame that comes with punishment and with failure to comply with parental wishes. During toilet train- ing, children can express autonomy or control by refusing to comply and sometimes by deliber- ately soiling themselves.

Neurosis and Symptom Formation Freud developed his theory to explain the development of psychological symptoms and clini- cal syndromes, such as then-common hysterias and phobias. He called all of these conditions neuroses. A neurosis consists of a cluster of symptoms typified by anxiety or indecision and some degree of social maladjustment. In a sense, the symptoms are a compromise between urges and drives and social and environmental constraints. They allow partial expression of the drive, but also may include an aspect of self-punishment: One needs to suffer when one’s instinctual organi- zation is activated beyond a level that can be regulated by the psychic structures.

As Freud explains neuroses, they often involve past events that were associated with high anxiety, fear, or trauma. In time, memory of the event disappears or is repressed, but the energy associ- ated with it may later be expressed in symptoms of neuroses. Symptoms such as phobias, compul- sions, and obsessions are the way the unconscious mind transfers energy from the conflict into something that expresses the energy, but hides the conflict from the affected individual (Freud, 1966, p. 298). For example, if an individual has an obsession with dirt on the hands and a compul- sion to constantly wash them (obsessive-compulsive disorder), freud might argue that the person is in fact wracked with guilt over some behavior, and the repetitive act highlights the guilt and the attempts to cleanse the self of the guilt. The preconscious mind often expresses this “forgotten” conflict in altered form in dreams, slips of the tongue, or even daydreams.

2.4 Stages of Psychosexual Development

Freud’s theory represents the first comprehensive developmental or stage model, and he recognized that development progresses in a hierarchical, stage-like manner, in which mastery of the previous stage is important to one’s ability to negotiate subsequent ones. Freud’s theory of human development and personality formation is reflected in his description of psychosexual development. The sexual instincts, also referred to as libido, are one of the major forces in this developmental process, hence the label psychosexual development. Libidinal pres- sure—the sexually based urged to survive and procreate (also termed the life instinct)—fuels development.

Freud theorized that individuals progress through a series of psychosexual stages. Each of these stages emphasizes different developmental tasks and challenges, and Freud suggested that libido is focused on a particular part of the body during each of these stages. For a variety of reasons, an individual can become fixated (i.e., stuck) in one of these stages, and this results in different personality types.

We will here outline each of the stages, and the personality types that might emerge based on fixations in each stage, keeping in mind that all of the intrapsychic events to be described were hypothesized to occur in the unconscious (i.e., one would have no awareness of them).

Oral Stage The first stage of life, lasting until about age 2, is termed by Freud as the oral stage. The term oral is used because of the infant’s proclivity to explore the world largely through his or her mouth. Moreover, one of the most important events occurring at this time is breastfeeding (or bottle feeding), which not only provides nourishment, but also warmth and intimate contact. It is also

Diego Cervo/iStock/Thinkstock

An unresolved oral stage in childhood may result in an oral fixation in adulthood. Nail biting is one manifestation of oral fixation.

Lec81110_02_c02_039-068.indd 53 5/20/15 9:19 AM

 

 

CHAPTER 2 2.4 Stages of Psychosexual Development

As was the case in the oral stage, the child can either achieve a suc- cessful balance of having some control and autonomy or can struggle to negotiate this stage and become fixated with control. The anal expulsive personality is thought to occur when the child deals with control by giving up efforts to control the bow- els at all. Thus, this might be marked by a delay in toilet train- ing. The anal retentive person- ality reflects the child’s attempt to deal with anal stage issues by over-controlling the situa- tion. As adults, the anal retentive personality might involve frantic

attempts to control all aspects of one’s own life—and perhaps even those of others. Freud sug- gested this would also result in hoarding money (i.e., being stingy), because money is a means of control. In contrast, anal expulsive people want nothing to do with control, allowing others to make all the decisions, no matter how minor.

Phallic Stage The third, and arguably most important, stage of psychosexual development is the phallic stage, which lasts from about 4 to 8 years of age. During this phase, the primary source of gratifica- tion is derived from the genitals. The child may now touch, rub, or exhibit genitals, as well as show interest in the anatomy of family members. It is at this time that they more fully develop ideas concerning sex and birth and pay close attention to the differences (especially anatomical) between boys and girls. Thus, it is during this time that the child develops his or her sense of gen- der identity by identifying with the same-sex parent. Again, Freud hypothesized about fixations in this stage and the possible resulting behavior. He suggested that when children identify with their same-sex parents, then normal heterosexual adult relationships would occur. In contrast, Freud believed, if the child identifies with the opposite-sex parent, this would result in homosexuality (or a homosexual impulse).

As noted, the majority of individuals would experience same-sex identification (i.e., you see your- self as most similar to, and want to be like, your same-sex parent), and Freud outlined something he called the Oedipus complex, where children compete with the same-sex parent in an attempt to gain the attention of or possess the opposite-sex parent. Freud believed that the Oedipus com- plex begins to unfold in the phallic stage.

Oedipus Complex

Like Oedipus, the mythological Greek figure who unwittingly killed his father and married his mother, Freud believed that the male child develops sexually based feelings for his mother dur- ing the phallic stage. The theory assumes that we all initially start with a strong desire to possess our mothers, but the process differentiates from here forward for males and females. For males,

Beyond the Text: Classic Writings

What does it mean when we say, “You’re so anal!”?

In “Character and Anal Erotism” (1908), Freud described an anal character and how it relates to sexuality and everyday life. Sometimes reading the works of Freud in his own words (as opposed to what is conveyed in a textbook) can provide a better example of his thinking. Read this article online at http://www.pldocs.docdat.com/docs/index-95699.html ?page=242.

Reference: Freud, S. (1908b). Character and anal eroticism. In J. Strachey (Ed. & Trans.), The Standard Edition of the Complete Works of Sigmund Freud. (Vol. 9, pp. 169–175). London: Hogarth Press.

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CHAPTER 2 2.4 Stages of Psychosexual Development

the son’s desire for his mother places the father in the role of a competing suitor for his mother’s attentions. Freud also believed that the perceived competition with one’s father would result in the fear or anxiety of being permanently eliminated as a competitor by means of castration. This castration anxiety, or fear of the father’s aggression, is ultimately what sets young boys on track to adult heterosexual relationships, as they learn to identify (rather than compete) with their fathers and obtain someone like their mother (rather than competing for their actual mother).

Electra Complex

The related experience for females is labeled the Electra complex. Unlike the male who fears castration, the female, realizing she has no penis, believes she has already been castrated. She blames her mother for the castration and is drawn to her father because he does possess a penis. It is theorized that girls then experience penis envy, which Freud defined as the envy of the ana- tomical structure (not a metaphorical envy of what the penis represented in society at the turn of the century—that figurative interpretation would emerge from other theorists). Freud believed that there was no easy resolution for females, though the resolution still involves a fully devel- oped superego and fully functioning ego. Freud believed that part of the resolution for a female is to essentially possess a penis by proxy; first by dating, then marrying, and eventually by having a child (ideally male). Due to this more indirect way of resolving penis envy, Freud considered females to have less-well-developed personalities, and his belief in the superiority of men was often the target of feminist writers.

Latency Stage The latency stage of development (from about age 6 to 12) is a time when preoccupation with sexuality lessens. The Oedipal complex, despite being unconscious, is traumatizing, and the child prefers to inhibit and repress sexuality. Freud describes this as a lengthy, innocent interlude, dur- ing which children prefer being with same-sex peers. During this phase, much energy is devoted to absorbing cultural and intellectual experiences, socializing with friends, and investing energy in a wide range of pursuits.

Genital Stage This final stage of psychosexual development, beginning at approximately age 11 to 14, culmi- nates in the fullest level of maturity, assuming development was not significantly delayed by ear- lier fixations. The term genital phase reflects the idea that the primary focus of the individual is the stimulation of the genitals. Importantly, however, the individual’s main preoccupation is now no longer the experience of pleasure for its own sake (as it was in the phallic stage), but the development of mature relationships with others. Freud stated that ideally libidinal energy is now directed (expressed) toward adult romantic partners of the opposite sex. Freud believed that any deviations from this course, which might include frigidity, impotence, unsatisfactory relationships, not dating, or homosexuality, would be an indication of problematic functioning, likely as a result of earlier fixations. The timing of this last developmental stage is thought to be stimulated by the hormonal and biochemical changes that prime the individual for puberty (sexual maturity).

During the genital period, the narcissistic (self-centered) seeking of continual pleasure must be exchanged for mature love and caring for others. If the individual accomplishes this task, the infant’s earliest expressions of libido—that is, of the sexual instinct—will have been trans- formed to mature love and the capacity for empathy. But if the individual has had too much or too little gratification along the way, the outcome may be apparent in one of a variety of personality disorders.

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CHAPTER 2 2.4 Stages of Psychosexual Development

Character Traits and Disorders in Psychosexual Development Freud’s conception of the way personality and personality disorders develop was based on his model of psychosexual development. According to psychoanalytic theory, the development of character is influenced by how the psychosexual stages are navigated. If there is a normal pro- gression, the individual will develop a mature and normal character. But if a fixation occurs, there will be a buildup of excess libidinal energy related to the erogenous zones associated with that stage, and problems related to that fixation will continue to manifest throughout one’s lifetime. For example, a person fixated at the oral stage, perhaps because of excessive gratification at that stage, might later display dependency (recall the oral-dependent personality). Of course, there would be a difference between the manifestation of a dependent trait (i.e., one who tends to rely on others) as opposed to dependent personality disorder. The latter would be marked by dysfunc- tions in daily living due to the pervasive and excessive need to be submissive and dependent on others and to stay in relationships (even abusive ones) to meet those needs. Table 2.2 provides an overview of the psychosexual stages of development and the personality disorders that may result secondary to fixations in each stage. Some of these personality disorders were actually elaborated by theorists from the neo-analytic movement, which followed Freud (see Chapter 3 for a thorough discussion).

Table 2.2: Stages of psychosexual development and character types

Stage of development Approximate age Character type

Oral stage 0 to 2 years Dependent

Anal stage 2 to 4 years Compulsive

Phallic stage 4 to 8 years Narcissistic

Latency stage 6 to 12 years Passive*

Genital stage 11-14 years – to adulthood Hysterical

*Not included in neo-analytic theory but may be a logical type.

Critique and Conclusions on Freud’s Theoretical Contributions The breadth of Freud’s theoretical contributions is matched by the fervent and broad-based nature of the criticisms levied at his theory and at the clinical and assessment tools that are based on psychodynamic theory (e.g., Lilienfeld, Wood, & Garb, 2001). Perhaps the most noteworthy counterargument is simply that Freud’s theory is often tautological and not open to empirical investigation. This may be the most salient criticism because it has led some to conclude that psy- choanalytic theory is more pseudoscience than science (for a review, see Cioffi, 1998).

Due to the complexity of the theory, it is unlikely that any single experiment or set of experiments could adequately test the entire theory; however, there have been credible attempts to inves- tigate many important aspects of Freud’s theory (see Westen, 1998). As an example, research- ers have culled the scientific literature and concluded that although there is scientific support for some of the defense mechanisms, there is little published research to scientifically support the functioning of most of the defense mechanisms as forwarded by Freud (i.e., even in some instances when the phenomenon may be present, it does not appear to function as a defense; see Baumeister et al., 1998).

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CHAPTER 2 2.5 The Neo-Analytic Movement

Today, Freud’s standing in the scientific community is generally as an outsider. He clearly has con- tributed many ideas that have spurred programs of research. Some of his ideas have been empiri- cally supported, but many have not (see Chapter 3 for a more extensive discussion). However, what is undeniable is that Freud’s work has had a tremendous and immeasurable impact on the field, not simply because of the durability of his ideas, but more because of his influence on the theorists who followed him and based their ideas on his seminal work. These individuals are often characterized as neo-analytic theorists, and in the next section, we consider some of the more well-known individuals in this movement.

2.5 The Neo-Analytic Movement

Freud’s work stimulated many other theoreticians who shared some of the basic assumptions of psychoanalytic theory, but who nevertheless established separate schools of thought. Neo-analytic theorists are those whose work was based on, and branched out from, Freud, but whose work typically differed from (or was even opposed to) Freud on at least one major theoreti- cal tenet. As a result, each of these schools of thought are sufficiently distinct to merit considering them separately. We here present a brief overview of some of these individuals and their major theoretical contributions.

Carl Jung and the Collective Unconscious Carl Gustav Jung was like Freud in that he was awarded a medical degree and emphasized psy- chiatry (he was both a psychiatrist and psychotherapist). Jung collaborated with Freud from 1907 to 1912, becoming one of Freud’s favorite followers. But Jung eventually broke with Freud and began to develop his own theory, which he called analytic psychology, as well as his own method of practice, in which the primary goal was to integrate conscious and unconscious thought and experience (termed individuation) while still maintaining some degree of autonomy.

Jung’s theoretical disagreements with Freud largely centered on: (1) a refusal to accept the sexual instinct as the primary force in mental life and (2) the emphasis on the collective unconscious, rather than the personal unconscious. According to Jung, the collective unconscious refers to what is essentially a public-access and universal version of the unconscious that contains memory traces common to all humans. The collective unconscious refers to the inherited themes that are represented in symbolic ways by different cultures, and Jung found these themes expressed in literature, art, and dreams. These themes deal with common experiences, such confronting death, gaining independence, and striving for mastery. Jung termed these common, recurrent, and sym- bolically represented themes archetypes of the collective unconscious. Examples of archetypes of the unconscious include concepts such as God, the self, birth, death, the wise old man, the nurtur- ing mother, and power symbolized as the sun or a lion.

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