Structure and Functioning of the Personality in Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory
Sigmund Freud, as the creator of psychoanalytic theory, has begun his
career as a neurologist, treating patients with hypnosis to cure
hysteria. Because it had almost no affect on curing the patient, he
discovered the method of free association, in which patients say
whatever comes to their mind. By listening and noticing what patients
were saying, he found some similarities in their memories of dreams
and their childhood memories.
For an easier understanding he compared our mind to an iceberg. One
part (that is above the surface) represents our conscious mind; the
other part (that is under the surface) represents our unconscious
mind. The unconscious mind should not be confused with "being
unconscious" and unconsciousness which is loss of consciousness.
He claimed that unconscious mind affects the largest part of our
thoughts and behavior and that all our emotions and actions have
causes in our unconscious mind. Although many people don’t agree with
Freud, his idea that people react for a reason is accepted. (The
Psychopathology of Everyday life – 1901). Most of our behavior is,
however, led by our unsatisfied drives and unconscious wishes. For
Freud, the unconscious was a powerful force in behavior: thoughts and
actions, which a patient didn’t even realize were very important in
his researches. Freud based his ideas on this claims.
The unconscious mind (or subconscious) is the feature of the mind of
which we are not directly conscious or aware. Unconscious contains all
those experiences and feelings that are »hidden« in our mind and we
cannot recall them into the conscious mind, but they somehow “leak
out” either directly or in a symbolic way. The concept of the
unconscious mind is perhaps Freud’s biggest contribution to
His bigger question was still at a distance: What is the biggest force
that motivates our behavior? Of all biological influences, Freud
thought that sexuality was the most powerful and that all pleasure is
based in the sexual drive. Yet, he had to discover how does this basic
drive result in so many forms of behavior?
Freud had also an early description of human motivation, which stated
that we are driven to maximize pleasure and to avoid pain or
unpleasantness. It is so-called pleasure principle.
Freud wanted to explain how the unconscious operates and therefore he
suggested that it is structured of three major parts: id, ego and
superego. The Id (Latin, "it" in English) is the most primitive part
of the personality that responds to instincts, tries to avoid pain and
is concerned with pleasure; it operates on the pleasure principle. It
consists of the basic biological needs such as: the need to eat, the
need to be close to someone etc. The demands of id...