‘Personality is what is intuitively meaningful to everyone. It is the whole integrated pattern of behaviour which distinguishes one man from another as uniquely as fingerprints and as distinctively as photographs’ (Richard S. Lazarus and Edward M. Opton Jr, (1967), p.9). In this essay I will critically evaluate the psychoanalytical theory of personality. I will use Sigmund Freud’spsychoanalytical theory of personality as my main theory in which I will critically evaluate. I will explain his theory and state its benefits and also why it is criticised. I will also state the relevance of the psychoanalytical theory in nursing practice today. I am going to mention the work of other theorists throughout this essay. I will be using Gibbs cycle as my main framework throughoutthis essay.
The psychoanalytical theory of personality
It is clear that there is much analytical research on the theory of personality. And as stated by (Lazarus and Opton Jr. 1967, p.15), ‘just as two artists can paint two different, yet truly expressive portraits of the same man, so the descriptions of a man’s personality will be different, yet not inconsistent, when seen in the light ofdifferent theories of personality’. I will refer to some theorists within this essay but it is Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theory of personality, which fills 24 volumes, that I will critically evaluate. Freud’s theory developed from his personal experiences in dealing with emotionally troubled people.
Just as Carl Jung has his two model types, The romantic personality and the classic personality,in which he uses to analyse personalities. Sigmund Freud compares personality and the human mind to an ‘ice-berg’ type model. Within this ‘iceberg’ model there is three major systems, the id, the ego and the superego. These three systems, although have separate functions, come together to control our behaviour according to Freud’s theory.
The id system is considered the main source of personalityin our minds. As it is present from infancy, the two other systems, the ego and the superego later develop from the id. The id consists of all things inherited such as our instincts, sex and aggression. It is the libido in which drives the three systems or the ‘iceberg’. When internal or external stimulants increase the energy levels of the id, an uncomfortable tension is created and then the idseeks to return to its normal state. ‘Thus the id seeks immediate gratification of primitive, pleasure seeking impulses.’ (Ernest R. Hilgard, Rita L. Atkinson, Richard C. Atkinson, 1979, p.389 ). It operates on a pleasure based principle and avoids pain and can obtain pleasure seperately from external stimulants. Freud states in his theory, that one such example of this is by the mental image orhallucination of its desires to reduce tension. E.g. a hungry person could make a mental image in their mind of food to fulfil their desires of being hungry. This is also referred to as wish fulfilment, (Ernest R. Hilgard et al, 1979, p. 389). It is suggested that the images or thoughts that we produce in our minds in the id system are all attempts to fulfill some impulse but usually in disguisedways.
The role of the ego system is to consider reality. I am referring back to the id system example of the hungry person who makes mental images or hallucinations to reduce the tension of being hungry and also to fulfil their desires. This mental image of food does not satisfy the persons needs as the person cannot eat a visual image. Therefore the ego system is require to test the images fortheir reality and delay discharge of tension in the id, until the environment is suitable. ‘The ego mediates between the demands of the id, the realities of the world and the demands of the superego’, (Ernest R. Hilgard et al, (1979), p.390).
The superego system is the last system of Freud’s ‘iceberg’ model. This system is what governs our values and morals which have been taught to us by our...
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