Sigmund Freud Psychosexual Theory of Personality Development

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 01:53 -- Umar Farooq

Sigmund Freud was a physician who proposed the most controversial theory of psychosexual development which points to personality development over the course of childhood. According to Freud theory parents perform a crucial role in their children’s sexual and aggressive derives.

Freud’s Structure Model

There are three working parts of human personality. According to theory of psychosexual development these three parts of human personality combined when child works through stages of psychosexual development

  1. The id. It is the part of mind related to basic biological needs and related to desire and impulses.
  2. The ego. It is the conscious part of human personality and related to reasoning. Its function is to monitor behavior to satisfy basic needs.
  3. The superego. It is related to interaction with parents and other people, who want to inform the child about social norms.

Freud Psychosexual Theory believes that we are born with two basis instincts as follow.                     

  1. Eros. This is named after the Greek god for love. Eros includes the sex drives and drives such as hunger and thirst.
  2. Thanatos. This is named after Greek god for death. This includes not only striving for death but also destructive motives such as hostility and aggression. These drives highly influence the personality of a person.

5 Stages of Freud's Psychosexual Theory of Development

According to this theory a child passes through a series of life psychosexual stages which affect the personality of a child, this theory is unique in focusing each stage on a major bio logical function which Freud believes to be the focus of pleasure in given time. The stages are as follows.

Oral Stage

In the oral stage (from birth to 18 months) the libido is localized in the month region. A baby’s mouth is the main point of pleasure. Infant derives pleasure by sucking, manipulating mouth lips and tongue, and biting every thing that fits into his mouth. Thus mouth is the first sexual zone of pleasure and satisfaction.

Anal Stage

This is from 18 month to 3 years. Anal stage starts from 12 to 15 month of the age where the main emphasize is on toilet training. This training leaves a great and deep effect on the personality and socialization process of a person/child. The major source of pleasure changes from mouth to the anal region and children derives considerable pleasure from both retention and expulsion of feces.

Personality Development during Anal Stage. If toilet training is particularly demanding, the may be fixation. If fixation occurs, Freud suggests that adult may show unusual rigidity orderliness, generosity, punctuality or extreme disorderliness or sloppiness stinginess and miserliness.

Freud Stages of Development Chart

Phallic Stage (from 3 to 6 years)

The child’s attention focuses on the genitals and the pleasure of folding them. According to Freud, the child begins to enjoy touching his or her own genitals and he finds out genital differences between male and female, a discovery that creates. Oedipal conflicts which Freud sees critical in a child psychological development.

Oedipal Complex. The male child love for his mother but this love is repressed due to the fear of father. The tension and complex situation is called oedipal complex.

Latency Stage (from 6 to 11 years)

Now the child enters the age of latency throughout this period the child repress his/her sexual feelings, making their sexuality latent and relatively inactive. The child takes interest in school work, new thing, playing, etc. Thus the sexual concerns are more or less put to rest even in the unconscious.

Genital Stage (Puberty Onwards)

The Genital stage starts with the arrival of puberty. In this level there is a renewed interest in obtaining sexual pleasure through the genitals. During genital, the sexual intercourse becomes the focus of sexual pleasure.

In the conclusion we may say that Freud’s psychosexual theory of personality development revolves round the basic drive the sex which has a significant effect in the personality over the course of child life. Over the period of personality, growth are distinct, but Freud never proposed that children shift abruptly from one stage to the other. Sigmund Freud believes that the transitions are gradual and the ages only approximate.