Psychodynamic Theorist Paper


Psychodynamic Theorist Paper: Sigmund Freund


Various theorists have explored the concept of personality development. Sigmund Freud’s work is attributable to the origin and establishment of the psychoanalytic theory. Freud’s interaction with the patients who had mental complications made him assume that upbringing experiences and unconscious aspirations affect one’s behavior. The concept of psychoanalytic became influential in the first half of the 21st century. Numerous psychologists who were inspired by Freud’s argument expanded his ideas by developing other theories while others challenged his theory. Examining the works of Freud, Erikson, Idler and Jung is essential in developing knowledge of psychodynamic theories.

Reasons why Freud’s work was influential

Freud’s work was influential because he formulated various rational and reliable theories that later provided a psychodynamic strategy for accessing psychology. In this regard, the scholar’s work is highly influential in two distinct areas. Initially, he proposed a model of human mind and habit. Furthermore, he formulated clinical strategies that are essential in neurotic (Lothane, 2012).The scholar is acknowledged for his concepts of unconscious mind particularly the ones describing the mechanism of repression, effects of one’s sexual desire, and the curative techniques.  Freud established a theory that explained development in terms of stages of psychosexual levels. He observed that conflicts that happen during each of these stages have the potential of affecting one’s personality and behavior considerably (Lothane, 2012). Freud’s psychosexual concept indicated that erogenous zones vary extensively throughout the development. The scholar noted that the initial stage in human development includes the oral stage in which the sensual attributes concentrate on the mouth. The scholar further argued that the second stage includes the anal stage where considerable development occurs in the anus (Capps, 2011). The third level entails the phallacy stage where an individual experiences excitation on the genitals. He believed that sexual urges and the onset of puberty triggers the genital stage. The scholar also noted that individuals experience three stages of awareness that include the unconscious, preconscious and conscious. The conscious level comprise thoughts that individuals are always aware of, the preconscious level have mental ideas that individuals can recollect if they  needed while unconscious level comprise mental ideas that people are unaware of (Lothane, 2012).

Ways in which the analysts that followed Freud dissent from his viewpoint

Although Erikson’s theory was influenced by Freud’s work, his views dissented from Freud’s view in various ways. Erikson supported the idea that personality develops through various predetermined stages; however, his theory describes the effect of social experience in the entire lifespan. Erikson argued that each stage included a crisis of two opposing psychological forces. He also believed that each crisis stage associates to a corresponding life stage and its inbuilt challenges (Capps, 2011). Consequently, the scholar believed that passing through each crisis successfully entails attaining a balance between the opposing dispositions that characterize each crisis. Erikson challenged Freud’s models and popularized an idea that individuals undergo eight psychosocial crises that define their growth and personality. He argued that individuals experience these psychosocial periods in a fixed sequence although their timing may vary with the people and situations (Capps, 2011).

Adler in his work the “individual psychology” adopted new perceptions that dissented from Freud’s point of view. The scholar based his work on the concept of the indivisibility of personality. He diverted from Freud’s view by arguing the vital need of viewing person as a “whole,” but not as a mass of mechanisms or dynamic sections. In contrast with Freud’s view, Adler argued that human beings are essentially self-determined (Lothane, 2012). Adler’s therapeutic model insisted that individuals have the potential of controlling their lives and they make decisions that define them. Interestingly, Adler differed with Freud’s ideologies by stating that experience is never the cause of victory or failure. He argued that individuals do not suffer from the distress of their experiences, but they develop from them things that suit their purposes. According to Adler, people are “self-determined” which means that they provide to their experiences. Idler’s focus on the wholeness of human being and the belief that people’s values define their experience made him assume that there exists only one true meaning to the human life (Taylor, 1998).

Carl Jung was personally concerned about Freud’s work that he considered to have severe limitations. The scholar particularly dissented from Freud’s concept of unconsciousness developing his model of describing human mind. Jung believed that the conscious psyche is a component for adaptation and orientation that is constituted by various different psychic functions. Some of these functions include the sensation, thinking, feeling and intuition (Taylor, 1998). He argued that the feeling and thinking roles are rational while sensation and intuition are irrational. Consequently, Jung argued that Freud’s model of unconscious was inadequate and unnecessarily destructive. He claimed that Freud failed by conceiving the unconscious only as a repository of suppressed emotions and desires. This is because Jung was convinced that the unconscious also had an artistic capacity. He highlighted that the shared unconscious of elements and images that constituted the human psyche was generated and restored within the unconscious (Taylor, 1998).

Aspects that links theorists in the psychoanalytic theory group


The need of establishing the social strategy of describing the psychodynamics is the major factor that connects theorists in the psychoanalytical theory school. These theorists believe that social aspects play a significant role in the development of one’s personality. Consequently, the group is convinced that the knowledge of individual’s response or adaptation towards social forces is essential in describing his or her personality. For example, Adler attempted to establish a comprehensive social model for the psychodynamic self. Furthermore, Erikson observed that the modern psychoanalysis strategies should focus on the ego’s origin in social organization (Lothane, 2012). Psychoanalytical theorists have utilized both formal and casual institutional links in describing psychodynamic movements. These theorists have essentially concentrated in describing the scheme through which a particular society attains adaptation in relation to its own environment. They observe that a particular habit initiates through development of the “basic personality” within the primary institutions that expresses itself later in secondary institutions (Taylor, 1998).

Psychoanalytic concepts that are relevant in today’s culture

Various psychoanalytic concepts are of great relevance in the modern culture. Initially, the personality theory is essential in empowering people to overcome life challenges. For example, the conflict model highlights that there exist a persistent conflict between the Ego and other structures. Through the concept, the society is able to learn that children are likely to encounter conflicts in various stages of their development (Taylor, 1998). Consequently, the society is able to help a child negotiate through these stages successfully which results in the development of a healthy personality. For example, teachers and parents utilize the concept in handling children who presents deviant habits. Furthermore, the concept of the unconscious mind is relevance in the management of certain disease conditions. For example, physicians utilize the concept to establish the unconscious motivations that control habit, feeling and attitudes in order to manage the patient’s condition successfully. The concept is essential because patients mainly access treatment when defenses have failed and disquiet has developed. Lastly, the psychoanalytical concept that considers people being “self-determined” is utilized in modern culture in encouraging people to make them attain high performance. For example, the concept makes people believe that they have the opportunity of defining their destiny, which motivates them into realizing their goals.


It is apparent that the psychoanalytic model has undergone extensive development and its concepts are of great significance in the modern culture. Freud’s work has influenced perceptions adopted by other psychodynamic theorists considerably, although most have dissented from his position. The pursuit of establishing sociological strategies capable of describing psychodynamics has linked the group. Interestingly, concepts identified by psychodynamic theorists remain relevant to the modern culture.



Capps, D. (2011). The Verbal Portrait: Erik H. Erikson’s Contribution to Psychoanalytic Discourse. Journal of Religion & Health, 50(4), 880-898. doi:10.1007/s10943-011-9515-3

Lothane, Z. (2012). Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents and Related Works: A Reappraisal. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 32(6), 524-542. doi:10.1080/07351690.2012.703601

Taylor, E. (1998). Jung before Freud, not Freud before Jung: the reception of Jung’s work in American psychoanalytic circles between 1904 and 1909. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 43(1), 97.


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