PSYC 3F40 Lecture Notes - Oral Stage, Psychosexual Development, Anal Stage

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4 Feb 2013

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Can we change our defining characteristic, and the answer to that is yes
As a whole or a group after a certain amount of time, you will naturally gain or lose characteristics,
naturally become more conscious, more emotionally stable, etc. (as we age)
People want to know if they can change if they make a deliberate effort to change, and the answer is yes,
psychotherapy does work, by reading psychology books, meeting a therapists, they will succeed, cope
better with their problems and stress, etc.
As part of psychotherapist studies, they must have a theory of personality, of how people work, fi your
going to have an idea of how and what depresses them
Series of personality change are based on a more basic theory of personality
One very prominent theory of change mechanisms is Freudian psychoanalysis
Freud changed how we saw ourselves, prior to Freud we though of ourselves of masters of our own
experiences, that consciousness is primary, but Freud said that we may be captains of our own ship but
only a fool goes on board of a ship and does not take into account the ocean, the unconscious ocean
that we sit on is really what tells us where we go as people
Early childhood is important, the ideas of conflict, anxiety, all of Freud’s ideas
Core concepts is the idea of conflict, one of the things that Freud captured in his thinking is the idea that
humans are conflicted, we are often ambivalent about things, our choices are not often clear cut,
competing motives that determine how and what we do
Conflict to Freud was anxiety, being that the egos inability to keep control of things, when the ego starts to
think I cant control the id and superego, there is experience of anxiety, and persistent inability to
manage the anxiety leads to symptoms what Freud calls neurosis=persistent anxiety and manifestation
in daily life
Wide range of defence mechanisms to protect ourselves from anxiety, but they don’t always work, cannot
withstand magnitude of anxiety
Freud also had theories of development, at the heart of Freudian thinking was a developmental theory, how
personality was built over infancy and childhood, sequence of stages how personality was put together,
we all moved through the oral, the anal and the fallic stages
And how at each stage, particular component of personality comes online
Oral stage, issues of trust (the id emerges), the anal stage, issues of control (develop the ego) and then
there is the fallic stage, infantile sexuality, fear, and overcoming (development of conscious or
superego)=its expected that all of us pass through these stages, and if we don’t pass the previous one
then we cannot move on to the different issues
Leading us to new concept, the idea of fixation, this notion of developmental sequence, a sequence fo
stages that need to be negotiated and solved, that some point along this line we fail, the potential and
likelihood that we fail to negotiate the problems successfully=produces a quality called fixation
(quality of being stuck at a particular developmental stage, makes it hard for us to move on to later
e.g. army metaphor, a general commanding an army, army is moving from one battle site to another, it
defeats one and moves on to next battle, but there is resistant, and the subsequent battle doesn’t go as
well as predicted, the general needs to command the army to move on, but battle is not finished, so
general can choose to take some troops to next battle and leave some troops behind, stationed at the
post and deal with any instigations after they have moved on, so army moves on but smaller in size and
reduced in strength=key idea, some of our energy and strength is left behind, we are less equipped,
move on with less resources, not as strong as we were before
When the army is defeated again, they know where to run back to and required to retreat, they know to go
back to the station post, this is called regression=during period of stress, people have tendency to
return to the state which causes happiness, to leave behind what you cannot cope with
Our impulse is to return to a more happier, safer time, when things were still unresolved, earlier stages
This reflects a quality we all have, what is the stage we return to
The notion of fixation has another issue, an issue we fail to resolve, will repeat itself (repetition
compulsion), we cant leave our issues behind, we will compulsively work on those problems until they
are solved
Some of the ways personality derails, fixation, where and how we regress, and the conditions in how we
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