Freud’s Theory of Personality

Freud’s Theory of Personality

Freud’s Theory of Personality
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Sigmund Freud is inarguably the father of psychiatry, and he has several accomplishments under his belt. One of them is the invention of the theory of personality, which is famously known as “Freud’s structural theory of Personality.”

Freud believed that a personality results from the behavior emitted from an interaction of the three components of the brain known as Id, Ego, and Super Ego. He stated that the character develops in childhood through a series he called psychosexual stages.

In these stages, a child faces conflicts between biological needs and social expectations.  Mature personality will result from the child who masters and navigatesunseen disputes successfully.

The theory has been a topic of hot discussions, disagreements, and different interpretations mainly because there is no scientific proof; thus it cannot be denied or accepted.

Freud’s Structure of the Human Mind

Freud’s Theory of Personality

Freud argued that human personality develops from the three components of the brain, namely, id, ego, and superego. The three are always in conflict, and the dominant part shows the type of person that you are.

  1. The Id

The Id part of the brain is concerned with instant gratification. If it sees something, it goes for it regardless of the social rules or the circumstances. The structure is known to be the most primitive part of the unconscious brain.

  1. The Super Ego

The superego adheres to the social rule and what is acceptable to the majority of people. It balances the Id in that if Id part wants a cake that someone else is having, the superego will argue that it is not acceptable to take away things from others.

  1. Ego

The ego intervenes in the Id’s and Super Ego’s conflicts by offering a solution that is acceptable to both. In this case, if the ID wants to take someone else’s cake and Super Ego argues that it is wrong, the Ego provides a solution which is to buy their cake.

Both super Ego and ego operate in both the conscious and unconscious minds while the Id is entirely in the unconscious mind.

Psychosexual Stages of Development

Freud’s Theory of Personality

  1. Oral Stage

The oral stage starts from when one is born up to 1.5 years. Freud argued that, since this stage is about everything that’s oral, poor development will bring out negative oral behaviors in the future such as smoking.

  1. Anal Stage

The oral stage between 1.5 years to 3 years is about developing proper toilet training habits. The stage influences tidiness, obsessiveness, and generosity.

  1. Phallic Stage

At this stage, there’s a healthy development of substitutes for a sexual attraction that a child has towards the mother or father.

  1. The latency Stage

The stage from 5 to 12 years whilethe dominant feelings towards the opposite sex start to develop.

  1. Genital Stage

The step from 12 years to adulthood is an integration of all the previous stages that are now settled in mind to make a full personality with normal feelings and behaviors towards sex.

As seen, the Freud’s psychosexual stages focus on a child’s development concerning their response to unseen conflicts of the biological urges. Though many scientists disagree with the theory claiming its limited sexual approach and lack of scientific proof, the discussion still goes on.


Freud’s personality theory formed the basis for the development of mental illness treatment known as psychoanalysis. The method was made to address poor growth in the mentioned psychosexual theory which leads to mental instability.

The procedure is still in use to this day in various adaptations. Regardless of the criticism,  Sigmund Freud’s contribution to psychiatric education lives on.


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