Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856–September 23, 1939) an Austrian psychologist,neurologist, physiologist, and father of psychoanalysis, is generally known as one of the most influential and authoritative thinkers of the twentieth century. It would be impossible to provide an adequate account of contemporary personality theory without referring to Freud’s system. Freud developed the first comprehensive personality theory, an extensive body of clinical observations based on his therapeutic experiences, a compelling method for treating mental or behavior disorders and a procedure for investigation of mental processes which are almost inaccessible in any other way.
Sigmund Freud,the first theorist to link childhood experience with adult behavior, proposed the theory of childhood development. He saw personality development as consisting primarily of a conflict between biology and culture; that is, between the genetically programmed needs of the infant/child and the ability or willingness of the parents to satisfy those needs. He uttered and refined the concepts of the unconscious, of infantile sexuality, of repression, and proposed a tri-partite account of the mind’s structure, all as part of a radically new conceptual and therapeutic frame of reference for the understanding of human psychological development and the treatment of abnormal mental conditions.
Sigmund Freud was at work in his psychiatric practise in Vienna constructing a concept of personality based on his observation of patients. He managed to explain many puzzling aspects of the behavior of both normal and disturbed people- aspects, which were inconsistent with what a “rational” person would do. Successive versions of Freud’s theory spread throughout the western world and have been one of the strongest influences ever felt by Psychology and psychiatry.
Freud’s psychoanalytical theory included the following hypotheses: (1) that human development is best understood in terms of changing objects of sexual desire, (2) the psychic apparatus habitually represses wishes, usually of a sexual or aggressive nature, whereby they become preserved in one or more unconscious systems of ideas, (3) that unconscious conflicts over repressed wishes have a tendency to manifest themselves in dreams, parapraxes (“Freudian slips”), and symptoms, (4) that unconscious conflicts are the source of neuroses, and (5) that neuroses can be treated through bringing the unconscious wishes and repressed memories to consciousness in psychoanalytic treatment. Freud constructed a model of personality with three parts: the id, the ego, and the super ego.The ego (the executive component of the personality) manages the id (the storehouse of unconscious instincts), the super ego (conscience) keeps a person striving towards the ideals, which are usually acquired in childhood, and demands of reality so as to balance the requirement of each. One of Freud’s major contributions was the notion of unconscious motivation. Freud proposed that each person has unconscious aspect of mind in addition of conscious aspect with which the individual is aware. These unconscious motives, energized by the libido, play an enormous role in shaping behavior; they strive for expression and are seen in dreams, slips of tongue, jokes, and many other behaviours. .Freud was arguably the first thinker to apply deterministic principles systematically to the sphere of the mental, and to hold that the broad spectrum of human behaviour is explicable only in terms of the (usually hidden) mental processes or states, which determine it. The instincts, for Freud, are the principal motivating forces in the mental realm, and as such they ‘energise’ the mind in all of its functions. He grouped into two broad generic categories, Eros (the life instinct), which covers all the self-preserving and erotic instincts, and Thanatos (the death instinct), which covers all the instincts towards aggression, self-destruction, and cruelty. Freud effectively redefined the term ‘sexuality’ here to make it cover any form of pleasure which is or can be derived from the body. Thus his theory of the instincts or drives is essentially that the human being is energised or driven from birth by the desire to acquire and enhance bodily pleasure.Freud laid out a blueprint of development consisting of four stages: the oral, the anal, the phallic, and latency. At each stage of development, which Freud believed occurred at varying ages, infants and children had different needs, all biologically determined. What Freud saw as significant was the degree to which those needs were either met or frustrated by the parents. extremes at either end, frustration of gratification, resulted in fixation which stunted development. According to Freud’s theory of personality dynamics, the management of the personality’s energy system, in which conscious and unconscious motivation and ego defence mechanisms are important concept.His thoery explains that ego employs a broad vriey of defence mechanisms to deal with anxiety and share two common factors-they operate on unconscious level and are therefore deceptive and they distort one’s perception of reality, so as to make anxiety less threatening to the individual.Psychoanalytical theory of Freud has given a number of interesting hypotheses about personality, but it is not based on a firm experimental foundation. The basic criticism of Freud’s theory is that it focuses on thoughts and feelings s the real data and these are inaccessible. Freud’s most important and frequently re-iterated claim, that with psychoanalysis he had invented a new science of the mind, remains the subject of much critical debate and controversy.