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Biography of Sigmund Freud. Sigmund Freud was born on 6th May 1856 in Freiberg village in Moravia. He attended Communal- Real- und Obergymnasium secondary school in Leopoldast and graduated in 1873. He later proceeded to Vienna University where he was awarded a degree in Medicine in 1881. Freud became a research assistant on neurology and psychotherapy in 1876 to 1882 at the Institute of Physiology under Ernest Brack. In 1885, he received a scholarship at the Salpetriere in Paris where he worked with Charcot who was studying hysteria and hypnotic.
In 1886, Freud returned to Vienna and launched his private neurological practice. He focused on treating patients with hysteresis using hypnosis. Freud worked closely with Joseph Breuer with whom he published A study of Hysteria in 1895. He also published another work on Interpretation of Dreams in 1901. In 1902 he became an associate professor at the University of Vienna (Shepperd et al 54).
Freudian Personality Theory. According to Freud, conscious aspect of personality consists of all the things that a person is aware of and can freely think and talk about. Subconscious personality depends on information that is stored in memories, can be retrieved from this level of consciousness for application in the present situation. On the other hand, the unconscious mind contains hidden thoughts, feelings and memories. They influence how a person behaves (Weiten 56).
Freud argues that the Id is the primitive aspect of the mind that is responsible for impulsive. According to the Freudian psychoanalysis, Pleasure Principle defines a persons personality at the level of the Id. The Id needs immediate gratification. The ego is constructive, operates under the Reality Principle and works to regulate the forceful desires of the Id. The superego is responsible for guidelines and principle under which a person behaves whether wrongly or rightfully (Weiten 37). These three personality levels are in constant competition. The winning level therefore shapes and defines a persons personality.
In his psychoanalytic theory, Freud asserts that sexual drives govern and influence ones personality. A persons personality is therefore developed through all the four stages of development. These stages include the oral, anal, and phallic and latency stages. All these stages have conflicts that a person must resolve in order to develop a mature and stable personality. Failure to overcome the crises of any of the stages leads to fixation.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Freudian Psychoanalysis. Freuds theory has had significant impact on scholarly understanding of human personality. Although his studies were biased towards application of sexual drives and unconsciousness to understand personality, his contributions have enabled psychologists to explain personality development across various stages. The theory also offers detailed explanation of the forces behind human personality, especially his conceptualization of the unconscious mind, the Id, Ego and Superego (Weiten 74).
Freuds theory has attracted various critics. The validity of his evidence has been questioned. Some critics claim that the theory depended only on oral and not the written evidences (Weiten 37). Further, the theory was not concerned with individual identity and the way one can cope with his/her environment. Freud exaggerates some of his psychoanalytic experiments and claims. The theory also undermines women since Freud considered male responses in his experiments considering them normative while labeling womens responses as deviant (Weiten 90).
Classification of Freuds Psychoanalytic Theory. Freudian theory is generally broad in its approach and utilization of the building concepts. The concepts that the theorists applies are not specific to a particular individual or demographic category. As such, is fair to classify Freudian psychoanalytic theory under category of the macro-level type of psychological theories.
In conclusion, Freuds psychoanalytic theory of personality has helped to open the eye of many scholars in the field of human personality. Although there may be some weaknesses in his theory, Freuds bold step to document his experiment on human personality inspired many to launch further investigations into his assertions.