Sigmund Freud & the Human Condition Essay

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Sigmund Feud is popularly referred to as "the father of psychoanalysis." He lived between 1856 and 1939. His work and ideas have greatly influenced psychological imaginations and popularized notions such as Freudian sleep and dream symbolism, defense mechanism, unconsciousness, and many more. These notions have greatly contributed to films, literature, and theories such as feminism, psychology, philosophy and criticism.

Freud is also known for theories such as unconscious mind, specifically those revolving around repression mechanism. He redefined sexual desire as mobile and believed that it is directed towards a wide variety of objects. His therapeutic techniques improved the understanding of transference in therapeutic relationship. The technique presumed that human beings are able to gain insight into the unconscious desires through dreams.

Freud's psychoanalysis had an objective of bringing the repressed feelings and thoughts to consciousness. Freud's successors including his daughter Anna Freud postulated that the goal of the therapy was to allow for development of a stronger ego in the patient. Other theorists and researchers such as Jacques Lacan thought that the therapy would lead to the analysis and acknowledgement of the patient's inability to satisfy their basic desires.

Traditionally, it was believed that bringing the unconscious feelings and thoughts to unconsciousness could be enhanced if the patient was encouraged to talk freely about their dreams. The other important aspect of psychoanalysis is lack of direct involvement by the analyst in the whole process, which encouraged the patient to project the feelings and thoughts. The process of transference allows the patient to resolve and rebuilt the repressed conflict; specifically, the childhood conflict with one's parents.


According to Sigmund Freud's theory on psychoanalytic of personality, human behavior results from the interaction of the three components of the mind: superego, ego and the id. The structural theory of personality emphasizes on conflict on the parts of the mind, personality and mind shape behavior. Such conflicts are thought to be unconscious, thus, Freud argued that the personality which develops during childhood is shaped through psychosexual stages that he called psychosexual theory of development.

During the stages, the child faces conflict that results from social expectations and biological drives. These are internal conflicts, and if one manages to successfully master the stages, it results in maturity in personality. However, Freud's ideas have since been criticized because of the way he focuses on sexuality as a way that drives human personality development.

According to Freud, personality development results from interaction among the fundamental of human mind: superego, ego and id. Conflict among these three structures and an effort to balance among the desires of each one of them determine the approach we adopt towards the world and our desires.

The balance, which human beings are able to strike determines how they effectively solve the conflict between the two predominant behavioral tendencies: the biological pleasure seeking drives vs. how we are internally socialized to overcome the drive.

Psychosexual Stages of Development

According to Freud, the nature of conflicts among superego, ego and id keep on changing as one matures from childhood. He argued that the conflict progresses through a series of stages. He identified 5 stages each of which had a different focus: genital, latency, phallic, anal, and oral. Freud called this idea the psychosexual theory of development. Each of the psychosexual stages was believed to directly relate to the physical center of pleasure. Consequently, the child is presented with conflicts between the id (biological drive) and superego (the moral and social drive). The reason for this is that biological pleasure seeking drives focus on different areas of one's body; Freud called this erogenous zones.

The ability of the child to resolve conflicts determines how best they will be able to cope when they become adults. Failure to have this resolved could make one get fixated in that stage. This could lead to unhealthy personality traits. However, if they were successfully resolved, it could make one grow into a healthy adult. (Boundless, 2016).

The Human Mind

The core of psychoanalytic revolves around understanding human mind. The theory of Sigmund was introduced in 1900's and is still critical in the theory of human mind despite the numerous studies that have been done on psychoanalytic theory.

At the center of the theory, are psychopathologies that lead to mental illness within an individual. Freud's theory is categorical that the human mind exists in three levels of consciousness and awareness. The introduction of these psychopathologies is believed to affect people and require some form of treatment. Thus, psychoanalysis is the appropriate treatment of the psychopathologies.

The diagram below shows how Freud divided the three levels and the estimated usage of each level. They are the unconscious, the subconscious, and the conscious.

The acceptance of Freud's psychoanalytical theory has been discredited by professionals who at times dismiss it as mere thoughts. However, within the theory, there is a concept or a model that has withstood the test of time.

Freud's Conscious Mind

Consciousness can best be understood as being aware of the existence of something, calling it to mind. However, there are two….....

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Boundless. (2016, August 17). Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality. Retrieved from Boundless Psychology:

Journal Psyche. (2015). Freud's Model of the Human Mind. Retrieved from Authors & Journal Psyche:

Reasoning and mind. (2014, Novemeber 18). Summary of Freud's Basic Ideas. Retrieved from

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