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The Psychoanalytic School of Thought- Sigmund Freud

The Psychoanalytic School of Thought- Sigmund Freud

The Psychoanalytic School of Thought- Sigmund Freud


The psychoanalytic school of thought is one of the most controversial and influential theories in psychology. One of the most famous psychoanalysts is Sigmund Freud (Hergenhahn & Henley, 2013). Sigmund Freud is the founder of psychoanalysis, who proposed many controversial theories about human behavior. Psychoanalysis is a method used to treat mental disorders by examining the unconscious mind. The concepts proposed by Sigmund Freud have greatly influenced the development of psychological thought processes and continue to be evident in current events.

The Major Concepts

Sigmund believed that the human mind is composed of the id, ego, and superego. The parts work together to control human thoughts and behavior. According to Freud, the id is the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that consists of one’s basic desires. It is the part of the mind that demands immediate gratification (Spillers, 2018). The ego is the realistic part of the mind that mediates between the id and superego. It attempts to please both the id and superego while also trying to operate in reality. For example, if a person has the id desire to eat an entire cake, the ego might try to satisfy that desire by only eating a slice of cake. The superego is the moral part of the mind that consists of one’s conscience. It punishes the ego when it does not behave according to society’s standards and rewards the ego when it behaves appropriately. When the superego is too strict, it can lead to feelings of guilt. People with a strong superego might have high moral standards and behave altruistically. Today, the concept is still used in therapy to help people become aware of their unconscious desires and how they influence their behavior.

Sigmund Freud also proposed the theory of the Oedipus complex. The Oedipus complex is a stage in psychosexual development where children develop sexual desires for their opposite-sex parent and feelings of jealousy and competition with their same-sex parent. Freud believed that this complex was a major source of conflict in adults. The Oedipus complex is one of the most controversial concepts proposed by Sigmund Freud (Hergenhahn & Henley, 2013). Many people believe that this concept is outdated and does not accurately reflect human behavior. Mothers are typically not seen as sexual objects by their sons, and fathers are not seen as rivals by their daughters. However, some people believe that the Oedipus complex is still evident in adults. For example, a son might see his mother as a caring and nurturing figure but also view her as a sexual object (Spillers, 2018). The attraction to the opposite-sex parent and competition with the same-sex parent might also be evident in adult relationships. Currently, researchers use the Oedipus complex to explain adult behavior, such as why some men are attracted to older women and why some women compete with their husbands.

Sigmund also believed that there are three different levels of consciousness: the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious. The conscious level is what we are aware of at any given moment (Ahmed, 2016). When people see a therapist, they are usually only aware of the conscious level. The preconscious is information that is not currently in our consciousness but can be easily accessed. For example, a person’s name is not currently in our consciousness, but we can easily remember it. The unconscious level is information that is not readily available to our conscious mind. This information may be painful or unacceptable, so it is repressed in the unconscious mind. For example, when individuals experience a traumatic event, they may repress the memories of the event because it is too painful to think about (Spillers, 2018). Today, therapists still use the concept of the three levels of consciousness to understand their patients’ thoughts and behavior. They may use this information to help their patients become aware of their unconscious desires and how they influence their behavior.


The psychoanalytic school of thought has had a major influence on the development of psychological thought processes. This theory is still evident in current events, such as therapy and research. The concepts proposed by Sigmund Freud are still used today to help people understand their thoughts and behavior.


Ahmed, S. (2016). Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory Oedipus complex: A critical study with reference to DH Lawrences Sons and Lovers. International Journal of English and Literature, 3(3), 60-70.

Hergenhahn, B. R., & Henley, T. (2013). An introduction to the history of psychology. Cengage Learning.

Spillers, H. J. (2018). “All the Things You Could Be by Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother”: Psychoanalysis and Race. Critical Inquiry, 22(4), 710-734.


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This assignment will assess your understanding of the psychoanalytic school of thought. You will explain the major concepts of this school of thought and provide examples that show the influence of psychoanalysis in real life.

The Psychoanalytic School of Thought-Sigmund Freud

The Psychoanalytic School of Thought-Sigmund Freud

Write a 2- to 3-page informational essay incorporating the following:

Choose a theorist from the psychoanalytic school of thought.
Discuss the major concepts proposed by this theorist and how these concepts relate to the development of psychological thought processes.
Provide examples of current events that illustrate the continued influence of the major concepts proposed in this school of thought on real life.
The Textbook used: Hergenhahn’s An Introduction to the History of Psychology.

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