15 October 2013
Psychosexual Development in Childhood
Sigmund Freud was born in Freiberg, a village in Moravia, Austria on May 6th, 1856. He grew up in a Jewish family in Leipzig and moved to Vienna when he was 5 years old. He attended the University of Vienna in 1873 and obtained a doctor of medicine degree. He did some work with Josef Breuer treating hysteria patients at Vienna General Hospital, and worked with Theodor Meynert studying neurology patients’ behaviours to determine any undiagnosed disorders. He went to Paris in 1885 and was the student of the neurologist, Jean Martin Charcot, using hypnosis to cure hysteria. When he returned to Vienna he specialized in disorders of the brain and nervous system. He got married to Martha Bernays in 1886 and had 6 children. He started his own neuropsychiatry clinic and that had a great impact on his theory development. In 1987 he began to study himself by looking into his dreams and thoughts, and was able to track his development. In 1900 he published The Interpretation of Dreams. In this book he analyzed his own dreams as unconscious desires which helped develop the theory of personality. In 1902, Freud became the Professor of Neuropathology at the University of Vienna. After World War One, Freud began applying his theories to different aspects of life, not just mental health. He published his book The Ego and the Id in 1923, where he explains his theory of personality including the three structures of human personality. Unfortunately in 1933, the Nazis burnt a lot of Freud's books. In 1938 Freud moved to London, England with his wife and daughter Anna to escape from the Nazis that were raiding Austria. Freud battled jaw cancer for 16 years and on September 23, 1939 he died.
Freud developed a theory of human development which includes the three structures of personality and the five stages of psychosexual development. The three structures of personality are the id, the ego, and the superego. We are born with the id, and eventually develop the ego and superego. The id wants things immediately in order to experience pleasure. It is the impulsive and instinctual response people get and it includes sexual impulses. It isn’t affected by reality and it is an unconscious part of our personality. The ego is developed during the anal stage of Freud’s psychosexual development theory. It’s used for decision making and reasoning. It’s the mediator between the id and the superego, and tries to delay the id’s impulses while also considering the moral conscience of the superego. The superego is developed during the phallic stage. It is known as “conscience” because it determines right from wrong. If the ego gives into the id’s wants, the superego makes the person feel guilty.
Freud’s theory of psychosexual development consists of 5 stages. In each stage of development, the child experiences pleasure experiences pleasure in one part of the body more than others when trying to get rid of accumulated sexual energy. During each stage there is also a critical period when the child has to resolve conflicts between the demands of reality and the stages of pleasure. If these conflicts aren’t resolved, the child becomes fixated at the stage of development when the conflict occurred. The child can become fixated at a stage if they spend too much or too little sexual energy at each stage to resolve the conflict.
1. Oral stage: Birth – 18 months (pleasure centre in mouth)
The child is constantly chewing, sucking, and biting on objects. Being fixated at this stage could lead to too much oral stimulation later on in life such as smoking, chewing pens, and constantly eating and drinking.
2. Anal stage: 18 months – 3 years (pleasure centred around the anus)
The child is potty training and may become frustrated from having to learn when and where it is appropriate for them to poop. Children who are potty trained at an early age usually become anal retentive. These