Freud's Theory of Personality

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The Austrian physicist Sigmund Freud is the father of psychoanalysis and 'the talking cure'. As a pioneer of psychodynamic personality theory, Freud believes that unconscious drives and conflicts, mostly shaped by childhood experiences and of which a person is not aware of or has no control over, determine and motivate behaviour and shape personality. Because conscious experience encompasses only a very small portion of our makeup—like the tip of an iceberg, Freud maintained that to understand personality, the unconscious needs to be exposed. However, because most of the material in the unconscious is painful or conflicting, they are ‘coded’, and cannot be exposed directly; they can be ‘decoded’ only through clues such as Freudian slips of tongue, jokes, or dreams. This course will explore what Freud means by structure of personality, psychosexual stages of development, and defense mechanisms.

1 Structure of Personality
2 Psychosexual Stages of Development
3 Defense Mechanisms
4 Evaluation of the theory