Sigmund Freud

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Sigmund Freud

Freud's view of the human mind: The mental iceberg 

  • Conscious
  • Preconscious 
  • Unconscious 

Distressing experiences are repressed into your UNCONCIOUS mind. You do not remember them but they have a huge impact on you.

Conscious: Thoughts and Perceptions

Preconscious: Memories and Stored knowledge

Unconscious: Fears, Unacceptable sexual desires, Violent motives, Irrational wishes, Immoral urges, Selfish needs and Shameful experiences

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Sigmund Freud


Your Id and Superego are at war.

  • Id - Your instincts e.g. sex instinct and death instinct (in the unconscious)
  • Superego - Your conscience (moral learning's from parents and society)

To cope with the conflict your Ego uses defence mechanisms to protect you from the conflict.

Some people have an overactive Id meaning they may be nasty and/or aggressive whilst others may have an overactive Superego meaning they can be seen as neurotic or a worrier

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Sigmund Freud - Psychosexual Stages

If you don't move through a stage successfully then you can become fixated (stuck) which can lead to problems in later life.

  • Oral stage (0-1)When you get pleasure from sucking. It has been divided into Oral Passive (when babies get pleasure from sucking on the breast) and Oral Aggressive (when babies get pleasure from biting or grabbing the breast). If you get fixated in the oral passive phase you may become clingy and sensitive yet if you become fixated in the oral aggressive phase you may become aggressive and cold. 
  • Anal stage (1-3)When you get pleasure from the retention and expulsion of faeces. It occurs during potty training, in the anal expulsion phase you get pleasure from going to the toilet, whilst in the retentive phase you get pleasure from 'holding on'. If you get fixated in the retentive stage you may become very tidy yet if you get fixated in the expulsive stage you may become 'mean' and 'messy'
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Sigmund Freud - Psychosexual Stages

  • Phallic stage (3-6) - When you get pleasure from playing with your genitals. Your superego develops here so you learn that it is not a socially acceptable thing to do.

Boys - Oedipus Complex: Boys 'desire their mother' and see their father as a rival and therefore suffer from castration anxiety. Eventually they identify with their father to resolve the conflict.

Girls - Electra Complex: Girls 'desire their father' and see their mother as a rival. They suffer from penis envy. Eventually they identify with their mother and decide they would prefer babies to a penis.

  • Latency (7-11) - Sexual energy is repressed and the child focuses on other things.
  • Genital stage (12+) - Focus on 'ordinary heterosexual activity' 
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