Psychoanalysis is a subset of Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory of personality development and organisation, in which he describes differing states of consciousness, dream analysis, free association, his Structural Model of the Mind, Psychosexual Stages of Development and decoding in symbolism. Beginning his research as a biologist, it was Freud with a fascination for mesmerisation who theorised that the mind had other realms to it that are not entirely conscious. Within the subconscious, below the reach of our conscious radar, exists our instinctual forces, impulses, secret phantasies and wishes, fears, anxieties, desires and childhood memories, that may all be having an influence on our behaviour, perception and experiences today. Not known by most people, in fact, Freud’s model includes a pre-conscious barrier that sits between conscious and subconscious states, making up a tripartite model of the mind. The mind also displays a host of defence mechanisms put forth by the ego, all designed to keep reality and phantasy apart.
In the Structural Model of the Mind we find the Id, the Ego and the Superego, all of which have a crucial part to play in mind dynamics. Freud suggests it is through conflicts between these three elements that personality is formed. In conjunction, the Psychosexual Model of Personality Development discussing the Oedipal and Electra Complexes, chronologically describes our psychological development through childhood and is still a very influential theory accounting for much of the behaviour we find today. Once a student and friend of Freud, the eminent psychologist Carl Jung, who embraced a more philosophical and etheric element to his theories, developed Analytical Psychology, that leads us into the fascinating archaic realms of Synchronicity, Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious.
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