Psychoanalytic theory forms the strongest of all theories because the rest are largely derived from it and provides a holistic understanding of human development at different stages which makes it highly effective when applied in various therapies. Psychoanalytic theory as Freud puts it, involved a longtime observation of psychological disorders as they developed from internal influences of an individual and then depicted in their behaviors. Therefore, in concurrence with Barbara (2008) and Brickman (2009), Freudian view was conclusive and later theorists could only expound on it.
At this point, some key questions that arise from the Freudian Psychoanalytic theory include; who are the post Freudian theorists and what are their theories? How do they relate with Freudian work? In particular, how do these theories compare with psychoanalytic theory? How is psychoanalytic theory employed in various therapies? How is the effectiveness of its application over time? It is from the above questions that that this essay expounds on psychoanalytic theory to depict its superiority and applicability in treatment.
A brief analysis of psychoanalytic theory Psychoanalytic theory was developed by Sigmund Freud at the onset of the 20th century in what Lieberman (2007) refers to as the greatest breakthrough of the time. Sigmund Freud was greatly disturbed by his hysteric or neurotic patients who he found out to lack key organic link to their symptoms. Consequently, he published the psychosexual phases in the ‘three essays on the theory of sexuality’ which psychoanalysis theory is laid on.
According to Nelson-Jones (2005), the three phases of psychoanalysis theory; the Id, the ego and the superego are defined as the psychic apparatus within which interactions and mental activities are described. Psychoanalytic theory outlook for the ‘id’ refers to the unorganized section of an individual’s personality and harbors the basic drives (unconscious part of the mind). Freud considered the id to be the inaccessible unit largely reflected negatively and therefore a negation of the ego (Gottdiener, 2008).
In his study, Adolf (2007) indicates that a young child is id driven and therefore relies on a chain of impulses, satisfaction and instincts with little understanding of the immediate environment. Reference of the ‘ego’ on the other hand is based on the reality principle and therefore emerges as a child or an individual begins to understand influences of the external world. Adam (2008) agrees with Freud that ego forms the organized part an individual such as cognition, perception, executive functions and even defense.
Ego therefore presents the common sense and reason which are very critical in mediation between the id and superego. How is this achieved? Freud explained in his ‘three essays on the theory of sexuality’ that ego represents the conscious section of the mind and which ultimately restricts some of the id’s demands in tandem with the societal expectations, norms (Brickman, 2009). Psychoanalytic theory indicates that the ‘superego’ presents an even higher level of understanding that seeks to perfect the ego.
As Siegfried (2010) puts it, superego seeks to create the needed assurance of actions by the ego by subjecting them to further criticism on the expected outcomes. To concur with Hayes (2004) and Clara et al (2008), the superego is indeed a contradiction of the id in that it factors the sense of guilt and wrong while seeking to pre-address the outcome. By considering an individual from both an internal and external subsets with critical consideration of their expectations, psychoanalytic theory facilitates clearer understanding of major behavioral disorders that affect the people and ultimate solutions to address them.