Freudian and NeoFreudian perspectives of personality indicated that psychological factors not biological factors determined behavior and personality. Psychoanalytical theory suggested that the way one perceives or interprets situations, conscious and unconscious processes are the main determinants of personality. Freud and NeoFreudian’s believed that behavior and personality are primarily dictated by unconscious processes.
Freudian theory of personality is discussed as two basic drives sex and aggression that motivate one’s behavior, thoughts, and emotions. According to Freud, sex and aggression underlie all motivation that humans experience. As Freudian theory evolved Friedman and Schustack explained how Freud placed more emphasis on one’s internal struggle, creating the Freudian structural model of the id, ego, and superego.
Freud has been described as stubborn in his beliefs which created dissension in the ranks. The break from the Freudian camp introduced new psychological theories and concepts known as NeoFreudian perspectives of psychology. The one concept of development that these new theories agreed upon was Freud’s perspective of the unconscious as an important motivator of emotions, cognitions, and behaviors. Freud’s theory of the unconscious has sustained time and has been adapted into many of the NeoFreudian theories and concepts. These Freudian theories coupled with the NeoFreudian belief that environmental factors must be taken into consideration introduced a new era of personality psychology.
NeoFreudian’s were firm on their position that Freud neglected to consider giving social and cultural factors as sufficiently important roles in the development and dynamics of personality. This new perspective on personality also diminished the importance of the events of childhood as determinants of adult personality. Researchers have indicated that the first to leave the Freudian camp was Alfred Adler. Adler theorized that humans are inherently social beings motivated by social interest and possess the desire to advance the welfare of others.
Jung’s break from Freudian psychology was because of Jung’s belief that Freudian theory limited the scope of the unconscious mind gave way to Jung’s new theory, the collective unconscious, that exhibited fears and behaviors in adults and children that were remarkable similar across time and culture. Jung theorized that these similarities were more than coincidence and introduced the collective unconscious and concluded that this collective unconscious was a predominant influence on personality development. Major and significant contributions to these new concepts in psychology were those introduced by Karen Horney. Horney is responsible for changing the perceptions of gender. Firm on her position, Horney adamantly disagreed with Freud’s perspectives of women. Horney rejected Freud’s concept of penis envy and disagreed with the Freudian belief that males and females instinctively had differences in personality. Horney was proactive in promoting equality insisting that men and woman were equal and that gender differences were learned. Horney argued that societal and cultural life experiences were primary factors in the development of personality.
Research has also identified Erik Erikson’s belief that personality development is a life time process. Erikson theorized that one can maintain individuality, uniqueness, and experience a sense of belonging and wholeness. Erikson also believed that people with a strong sense of identity has the ability to change and grow through life’s experiences. In response to the Freudian/Neo-Freudian perspectives of personality development the inception of trait theories, the biological perspective of development of personality was introduced.
Veronica Emilia Nuzzolo, MED
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