Psychodynamics approach to personality development was extensively forwarded by Sigmund Freud and is based on the premise that an individual’s unconscious part of the mind harbors unrecognized desires, interests, motivation or drive and memories which are only expressed in dreams or unconsciously (Waddel, 2009). The approach suggests that there exists conflicts between the conscious and the unconscious part of the mind and lack of solution to these conflicts leads to anxiety and maladjustment. The approach describes the development of personality as being controlled by three distinct forces that is the id, the ego and the superego (Comer, 2004).
The id is the dominant force in children below the age of 2years and requires immediate gratification of needs mostly physiological needs; for instance, when a child is hungry, the id demands for food to reduce the conflict or the tension between the conscious and the unconscious self. The ego is sometimes seen or described as the conscience or the reality principle (Nevid, 2008). Id develops as the child grows and controls the id and the superego. Ego distinguishes between what is real and ideal, right or wrong and determines to what extent a need is to be gratified. The superego is an ideal force and describes the ‘ideal person’ an individual desires to be. The ego plays the role of balancing the demands of id and the superego (Comer, 2004).
The psychodynamic approach believes that one’s childhood experiences shape the personality of individual especially traumatic experiences (Hutchinson, 2003). The child represses memories of these experiences and this may lead to maladjustment in adulthood. Psychodynamics stresses the need for nurturing the ego in personality development in early Childs life so that he or she grows fully aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses, what is right or wrong and the ability to make sound decisions when faced with interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts(Carver & Scheier, 1988).
Exposure of a child to pleasure eliciting experiences enhances positive development of the Childs personality and good mental health as opposed to traumatic experiences which tend to be repressed leaden to anxiety build up and maladjustment. The need to mould the unconscious motivation and desires of a child is therefore paramount in development of a positive and holistic personality in adulthood (Mruk, & Hartzell, 2006). The approach explains best the role of unconscious motivation & the importance of childhood experiences in shaping personality.
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Nevid, J.S., (2008). Psychology: Concepts and Applications (3rd Ed.). Stamford, Connecticut.
Hutchinson, E.D., (2003). Dimensions of human behavior: Person and environment (2nd Ed).
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Mruk, C. J, & Hartzell, J., (2006) Zen and Psychotherapy: Integrating traditional and
Nontraditional Approaches. New York. Springer publishing company
Carver, C.S, & Scheier, M., (1988) Perspectives on personality. Boston, Massachusetts. Allyn
Comer, R.J., (2004) Fundamentals of abnormal psychology. New York. Worth Publishers.