Freud's psychoanalytic model work on the assumption that genetically determined drives for sex and aggression produce energy and that human behavior is determined by past experiences and responses. Furthermore, in this model, all behavior has meaning and can be understood and clients are capable of changing behavior when made aware of reasons behind the change.
According to Freud's theory of personality, an individual's personality is composed of three structural elements: the id, ego, and superego. The id, the component of personality present from birth, is driven by the pleasure principle and strives for the immediate gratification of desires. The ego, on the other hand, is the component of personality that operates on the reality principle. It controls instinctual drives and mediates between the id and superego. It uses defense mechanisms to protect the self. The last component of personality to develop is the superego. This develops as an individual incorporates restrictions from parents and authority figures to guide behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. It is also the aspect of personality that is responsible for an individual's sense of right and wrong. Furthermore, the superego is divided into two parts, the ego ideal and the conscience.
Another important aspect of the psychoanalytic model is Freud's topographic model of the mind. Freud's topographic model deals with levels of awareness and is divided into the preconscious, conscious, and unconscious mind. The preconscious mind is not within the conscious mind but can be brought to conscious awareness through word linkage. The conscious mind consists of all content and memories immediately available and within conscious awareness. The unconscious mind consists of knowledge that cannot be brought into awareness without interventions such as psychoanalysis, hypnotism, or drugs.
Sigmund Freud is also the proponent of the psychosexual stages of development. According to Freud, an individual goes through five (5) stages of development: oral stage, anal stage, phallic stage, latency stage, and genital stage. An individual has to complete the stages successfully in order to have a healthy personality. If a stage is not complete successfully, fixation occurs. For example, if an individual is neglected by the primary caregiver during the oral stage, he may become a smoker or an alcoholic as an adult.
Freud died in London at the ripe age of 83. Although generally considered controversial and debatable, his work continues to influence psychology and other disciplines and has created huge impact in the study of personality, human development, and mental health.
Freud's Psychosexual Stages (NEW)
Freud's Elements of Personality and Topographic Model of the Mind (NEW)