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Chapter 9

PSYC 2740 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Weaning, Toilet Training, Castration Anxiety

Course Code
PSYC 2740
Stephen Lewis

of 4
Chapter 9 Psycoanalytic approaches to personality
Fundamental Assumptions of Psycoanalytic Theory
- freuds model of human nature relied on the notion of psychic energy to
motivate all human activity
- the amount of psychic energy an individual possessed remained constant
throughout their lifetime
- the innate forces the provided all the energy in the psychic system were
instincts; self-preservation instincts and sexual instincts
- later freud collapsed the self-preseveration and sexual instincts into the life
- also suspected that people had a fundamentalist instinct (death instinct)
- the two instincts were usually referred to as libido and thanatos
- the conscious mind is the part that contains all the thoughts, feelings and
perceptions that you are presently aware of
- the preconscious mind involves information that you are not presently
thinking about but that could easily be retrieved and made conscious
(memories, dreams and thoughts in the back of your mind)
- the unconscious mind is the third and the largest
- the top level is perception and consciousness, the middle level is the
preconscious and the lower level is the unconscious
- residing in the unconscious mind is the unacceptable information, hidden
form conscious view so well that it cannot even be considered preconscious;
those memories, feeling, thoughts or urges are so troubling or distasteful that
being aware of them would make the person anxious
Structure of Personality
- the is is something we are born with and is a source of all drives and urges; it
operates according to the pleasure principle and primary process thinking
- the ego is the part of the mind that constraints the id to reality and operates
according to the reality principle and secondary process thinking
- the superego is the part of the mind that internalizes the values, morals and
ideals of society
- anxiety is an unpleasant state, which acts as a signal that things are not right
and something must be done; it signals that the control of the ego is being
threatened by reality, by impluses from the id or by harsh controls exerted
by the superego
Dynamics of Personality
- efforts to defend onself from anxiety are called defense mechanisms
- objective anxiety is fear; this occurs in respond to a real, external threat to
the person
- neurotic anxiety occurs when there is a direct conflict between the id and
ego; the danger is that the ego may lose control over an unacceptable desire
of the id
- moral anxiety is caused by a conflict between the ego and the superego;
someone who suffers from chronic shame or guilt
- such conflicts are often expressed in dreams and can be elicited through
hypnosis, free association and projective assessment instruments
- defense mechanisms protect the ego and minimize anxiety and distress
- repression refers to the process of preventing unacceptable thoughts,
feelings or urges from reaching conscious awareness
- people have a preferred view of themselves and will defend against any
unflattering changes or blows to that self view
- denial is when a person insists that things are not the way they seem; it
involves refusing to see the facts
- a common form of denial is to dismiss unflattering feedback as wrong or
- the tendency to blame events outside ones control for failure but to accept
responsibility for success is so common that psychologists refer to this as the
fundamental attribution error
- displacement; a threatening or un unacceptable impulse in channeled or
redirected from its original source to a nonthreatening target; displacement
has often be thought of as a defense mechanism involving the redirection of
aggressive instincts, and it can also involve sexual urges that are redirected
from a less acceptable to a more acceptable target
- deliberately redirecting ones anger is not displacement even though
someone might do this to manage a situation. Real displacement is an
unconscious means of avoiding the recognition that one has certain
inappropriate or unacceptable feelings toward a specific other person or a
specific object
- rationalization involves generating acceptable reasons for outcomes that
might otherwise appear socially unacceptable; the goal is to reduce anxiety
by coming up with an explanation for an event that is easier to accept than
the real reason
- reaction formation is when in an attempt to stifle the expression of an
unacceptable urge, a person may continually display a flurry of behaviour
that indicates the opposite impulse
- proection is based on the notion that sometimes we see in others the traits
and desires we find most upsetting in ourselves; we literally project our own
unacceptable qualities onto others
- the false consensus effect refers to the tendency many people to assume that
others are similar to them; extraverts think many others are extraverted and
conscientious persons think many others are conscientious
- sublimation is the most adaptive defense mechanism; it is the channeling of
unacceptable sexual or aggressive instincts into socially desired activities
Psychosexual Stages of Personality Development
- children seek sexual gratification at each stage by investing libidinal energy
in a specific body part
- if a child fails to fully resolve a conflict at a particular stage of development,
they may fixate (fixation)
- first stage is oral from 0-18 months; main sources of pleasure are mouth, lips
and tongue and the main conflicts are weaning (from biological standpoint,
the id wants the immediate gratification associated with taking in
nourishment and obtaining pleasure though the mouth and from a
psychological standpoint the conflict is one of excessive pleasure vs.
dependency, with fear of being left to fend for oneself)
- oral fixations could be smoking, overeating, drug addictions, nail chewing, etc
- second stage is anal from 18 months to 3 years; anal sphincter is source of
sexual pleasure from expelling feces and retaining feces during toilet
training. The id desires immediate tension reduction whenever there is
pressure in the rectum; conflicts arise around this issue of the chidls ability
to achieve some self-control
- fixations at the anal stage could be low levels of self control and being sloppy
and dirty or too much self control and being overly rigid and neat
- third stage is phallic stage at 3 to 5 years because the child discovers their
genitals and that there is pleasure from touching them; conflicts involve the
Oedipal conflict and castration anxiety (fear of losing his penis), therefore the
child wants to be live his father (identification) which resolves the Oedipal
conflict and the successful resolution of the phallic stage/girls suffer from
penis envy and the Electra complex (maybe, according to Freuds throry)
- latency stage occurs at age 6 to puberty; it is mainly a period eehen the child
is going to school and elarning skills and abilities to become an adult
- the genital stage begins around puberty and lasts the duration of ones adult
life; the libido is focused on the genitals, but not in the manner of self-
manipulation associated with the phallic stage
Personality and Psychoanalysis
- psychoanalysis is a technique for helping people who are experiencing a
mental disorder or even minor problems with living
- free association is a style of therapy in which the session lasts 50 minutes
and may be repeated several times a week, and the sessions may continue for
years; the goals of these sessions are to enable patients to identify
unconscious material that might be causing unwanted symptoms and to help
them cope with that material in an adult fashion
- in free association, the psychoanalysr must be able to recognize the subtle
signs that something important has just been mentioned; a slight quiver in
the way a word is pronounced, a halting sentence, false start, nervous laugh,
long pause, etc
- dream analysis is a technique freud taught for unconvering the unconscious
material in a dream by interpreting the dreams content; we must distinguish
between the manifest content of a dream and the latent content (what the
dream represents)
- the psychoanalyst interprets dreams by deciphering how the unacceptable
impulses and urges are transformed by the unconscious into symbols in the