PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY; SIGMUND FREUD
Psychology as a discipline focuses on the understanding of behavior and mental processes. Through the use of various psychological perspectives, we can make an analysis of people’s actions, personalities and perspectives. The application of theoretical viewpoints helps in understanding the person’s motivations, actions and life as a whole. A psychobiography can focus on any individual, but, for this analysis Sigmund Freud is ideal. His personality and diverse achievements in the field of psychology make him stand out. The developmental psychology perspective will help in understanding his life. To grasp it, focus is on three major areas; Sigmund’s life, analyses of developmental perspective, and the application of developmental perspective in Sigmund’s life (Muir, 2014).
Freud is a well-known scholar and psychiatrist; he is famous mostly due to his achievements and theories of psychosexual development and role of the unconscious in determining personality and behavior. Born in 1856 in Moravia, Freud was a brilliant child whose achievements were influenced by experiences. He relocated to Vienna at the age of five and lived most of his following years there. After a period of home schooling, he later joined Spurling Gymnasium, graduating first in his class. He late joined medical school and studied under Ernst Brucke.
Once he completed his studies, he became a respectable physician; working alongside other physicians. It was during his work with the respected French neurologist that he developed an interest in emotional disorder. The neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot introduced him to an emotional disorder known as hysteria. It created a pathway for the bath of his interest in psychoanalysis and the role of the unconscious in influencing behavior and mental processes. He deduced that neuroses emerged from people past experiences; these are forgotten or hidden from consciousness.
Throughout his discoveries and publications, he gained both fame and ostracism. Most of his works and achievements depict the influence of life experiences. Throughout his developmental process occurrences in his determined his perspectives and accomplishments. Before the Second World War, he moved from Vienna to England where he continued with his work and later died of cancer. An analysis of this shows how the developmental perspective can be used in understanding Freud’s actions, personality, and motivations.
In psychology developmental perspective involves the analysis of both change and constancy in human behaviors. The examination of the factors throughout an individual’s life makes up life-span development psychology. The analysis of changes exhibited by people as they develop involves a wide range of factors through the years (Muir, 2014).
Developmental perspective in psychology focuses on how people change, develop personalities and behaviors based on the experiences they have growing up. A person’s unique experiences set him apart from others; this results in personality and behavioral differences.
Development is a pattern of change occurring over time; this occurs throughout a person’s life. It occurs in various domains including; social, cognitive, biological and emotional. Biological changes occur in our physical being whereas social changes involves our social relationships. There are also changes in our emotional understanding and experiences. Changes in our mental and thought processes are cognitive.
Developmental perspective is efficient in analyzing the life personality and works of Sigmund Freud due to its principles. First and foremost; development is a lifelong process. It means the interaction between Freud’s life experiences and accomplishments can be analyzed through a focus on his entire life. Subsequently, development is multidirectional and multidimensional. In the multidimensional aspect, various criteria can be used in the analysis of Freud’s accomplishments and personality in relation to his life experiences. Development also involves gains and losses; in the study of Freud’s life we all realize there are experiences that had a positive impact on his personality and accomplishments. Other experiences served as challenges towards the achievement of his interests. Development is also plastic; this means it changes depending on every person. The variability and uniqueness people exhibit determines how life experiences shape them. Though Freud’s experiences may have been similar to other people, his uniqueness influenced how they shaped him.
Last but not least development relates to context; this means that the influence of experiences on a person’s life depends on the context he/she lives in (Muir, 2014). Freud’s life in Vienna for several years impacted the development of his personality, interests and accomplishments in life.
In a publication in 1925, known as ‘Selbstdarstellung’, Freud expresses the need to relate his life experiences with his works; the dissociation of his life from his work would make the analysis of his psychoanalytic and other views meaningless (Jolibert, 2000). The developmental perspective is most appropriate in analyzing the life, character, and achievements of Sigmund Freud. He made it clear that psychoanalysis was the substance of his life; influenced by his experiences.
Freud’s ability to interact with and share other people’s lives played a significant role in developing his personality and actions. Experiences during his first years of life were significant; growing up in Moravia facilitated the acquisition of traits related to his Jewish background. He, for instance, acquired the qualities of; veneration of scientific knowledge, resistance to hostility and a critical and free mind. The characteristics helped him deal with challenges in life. The relationship he had with his father at a young age provides a foundation for the development of Oedipus complex’s components. It is due to the fact that his father married a very young woman as a second wife.
Interest in scientific knowledge motivated his curiosity in scientific fields; this guided his path towards a career in psychology (Jolibert, 2000). He majorly focused on; zoology, chemistry and biology, though, he also showed interest in philosophy.
Later on, medical training brought his interests to neurotics. During the time he worked under Charcot, he developed a fascination for hysteria. He studied various publications on the condition and related factors; it further drove towards the desire to understand causes of human behavior. Through the studies, he developed a view that some of the symptoms resulted from previous experiences and memories locked away from ones consciousness. The views were analyzed through the case study of Anna, introduced to him by his mentor, Dr. Breuer Josef. Under Breuer’s guidance, he analyzed the symptoms of nervous coughs, paralysis and tactile anesthesia. During the treatment plan they put her on, she recalled traumatic experiences she had in the past. Breuer and Freud’s deduced that the past experiences contributed to the woman’s illness in a significant way.
The use of hypnosis and other medical procedures made him realize the existence of psychic forces; these forces he believed could influence a person’s behavior without them being aware of it. He developed a link between forgotten experiences and hysteria symptoms. It was from the deductions that he developed his sexual perspective in analyzing human behavior. He related the role of unconscious thoughts with motivations rooted in sexuality (Boeree, 2014).
At the beginning of his focus on psychoanalysis, he attempted the comprehension of; resistance and repression, role of the unconscious and the relevance of a person’s sex life. It formed the beginning of his studies of psychosexuality among children. He viewed childhood experiences as the main tenets of psychoanalysis; this led to the development of five psychosexual stages including oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. Throughout the stages, the child experiences the pleasure principle; this is gratified in a variety of ways.
Freud also banked on the development of his daughter Anna; through close examination of her actions as a child he developed many components on his psychoanalytic theory. Later on, his daughter joined him in analyzing defense mechanisms. Their professional and biological relationship contributed to successful endeavors in in understanding the Ego, Id and Super Ego’s roles in personality developments. They analyzed the Ego’s defense mechanisms such as; regression, denial, repression and reaction formation.
Throughout his life, Freud’s work and accomplishments in the field of psychology impact the understanding of human behavior. Despite the publication of various works, some of his views face a lot of criticism. His psychosexual views on personality development particularly face debate and criticism. Through his work, many realized that not all mental illnesses result from physiological causes. Most of his accomplishments relate to the experiences he had throughout his life. It depicts the role of development in influencing a person’s personality, behavior and even accomplishments. For instance, his work provides evidence on the role of cultural differences in determining psychology and behavior. His experiences also influenced his contributions to clinical psychology, human developmental and abnormal psychology. The analysis of Sigmund Freud psychobiography, not only gave us an account of his life, but also how his experiences shaped whom he became.
Muir, D. (2014). Theories and Methods in Developmental Psychology. Retrieved 2/23/14 from www.ub.unimaas.nl/ucm/e-readers/ss229/muir.pdf
Bernard Jolibert (2000). Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). UNESCO International Bureau of Education. Retrieved 2/23/14 from www.ibe.unesco.org/publications/Thinkerspdf/freude.pdf
Boeree, G. (2014). Sigmund Freud. Prentice Hall. Retrieved from 2/23/14 https://wps.prenhall.com/wps/media/objects/863/884633/Volume_medialib/additional10.pdf