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Freud's Psychosexual Stages – Personality (PSY)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD
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    00:02 Freud had several stages and we call these the Psychosexual Stage.

    00:06 So Freud is kind of synonymous with relating everything back to sort of sexual innuendo and sexual stages and sexual nomenclature, and these five stages align with that.

    00:19 So the first stage, when you’re really, really young, so just under two year old to a newborn, we have the oral stage.

    00:26 And this is when you feel the need to put everything in your mouth, so sucking, chewing, nipples, bottles, everything goes in your mouth and that’s pleasure-seeking activity.

    00:37 You find happiness and pleasure in putting things in your mouth.

    00:41 Now as you get a little bit older, so between 18 and 36 months, you enter the anal stage, and this is where you actually get pleasure and you feel a sense of control and able to control the elimination of waste, so fecal matter, so taking a poo.

    00:56 So the fact that you can take a poo and you’re aware of the fact that you’re pooing and you can maybe stop it or go on the toilet and all that kind of stuff gives you that sense of control.

    01:06 You find happiness in that.

    01:09 Then into the phallic stage, and this is three to six years old, and this is pleasure through genitals.

    01:16 And I don’t think we want to limit this just to three to six, but in Freud’s Psychosexual Stages, this happens at this particular time, three to six, and you go through something which might on the surface seems slightly disturbing, but it has a purpose and that the child tends to be sexually attracted to the opposite caregiver.

    01:39 So a young girl would be sort of attracted to her father and vice versa.

    01:47 So if you have a young son, the little boy is going to be attracted to the mother compared to say the same sex parent.

    01:55 So if you’re a little boy you hate your dad, if you’re a little girl you hate your mom.

    02:00 You don’t necessarily hate, but you don’t have that same sense of attraction.

    02:03 And so in boys we call that the Oedipus complex, and in girls it’s the Electra complex.

    02:09 So in the Oedipus complex the boy is really into his mom, and the Electra complex the girl is really into her dad.

    02:18 And this is really relevant because we’re going to make a point in just a moment.

    02:21 So this is probably something that could easily come up on the MCAT.

    02:24 So remember that stage, the phallic stage.

    02:26 Then we also have the latency stage.

    02:29 I should mention actually, the phallic stage is also when young girls will express what we call penis envy and that they realize that they don’t have a penis and maybe their little brother does, and so they get kind of jealous of the fact that hey, why does he have one and I don’t have one, right? Now, the next stage is the latency stage and this is between the ages of three to seven, and then this is where you kind of go away from the phallic stage and being into genitalia and you start getting into other things.

    02:59 So you now you start liking toys more and playing and coloring and getting into that stuff and you get away from the fascination of sort of the penis and really being into your mom or your dad.

    03:12 Then we get into the puberty stage and I think we all see the reintroduction of our friend, good friend, Mr. Genital and Mrs. Genital, and you enter puberty and this is where you start getting into adolescents and sexual themes and starting to like other boys and girls and that’s the overall sequence.

    03:32 You can see he’s linked, Freud has linked everything to sort of a psychosexual stage and he’s linked a sexual behavior to some type of psychological transition.

    03:41 Now, we know that your ultimate adult personality is largely determined by the first three stages: the oral, the anal, and the phallic stages.

    03:53 And even more specifically, Freud believes that if the child is not successfully moved through those three stages that they’ll get stuck in a stage.

    04:01 We call that becoming psychologically fixated.

    04:03 So a child needs to go through all of these stages, and if they don’t complete all the stages there might be some issues, and one that’s kind of really important, which is why we’re saying this might come up on the MCAT is the phallic stage.

    04:15 So if the child does not actually go through -- completely go through the phallic stage, the point where they’re really into opposite sex parent, they, as an adult, won’t actually accept his or her sexuality and sexual feelings.

    04:32 So it’s kind of really important that they need to go through that phase and then transition over to the latency phase in order to be well-rounded, sort of sexually aware and intact with their sexual feelings as adults.

    04:44 Now, let’s move on to the next theory and that was one that was put forth and kind of championed by Erik Erikson.

    04:52 So this is a Freud believer and he adapted it a little bit and he kind of added two things.

    04:59 So first is that he added social and interpersonal factors.

    05:03 So Freud’s is a little bit lacking there in that respect and he also added conflicts in your adolescence and adulthood as opposed to just focusing on your early childhood.

    05:12 Okay, so two different things that he’s layered into Freud’s approach.

    05:16 So psychoanalytic therapy helps patients become aware that there are unconscious motives and to better understand the emotional issues and conflicts.

    05:25 So in English, we’re looking at not only just the unconscious motives, but we want to try and see how that relates to the emotion that you’re expressing now and the conflicts that you’re having now.

    05:35 So again, it’s trying to be a little bit more well-rounded, a little bit more inclusive.

    05:40 So the goals of this psychoanalytic therapy will be to help you choose your behaviors consciously.

    05:47 So there might be some unconscious drivers but you can modulate your behavior consciously.

    05:53 And it says to strengthen the ego so choices are based on reality instead of instincts or your id or guilt, which is your superego.

    06:00 So we should kind of remember that and you should know that, that id is associated with instinct and superego is associated with guilt, okay? So just to reiterate there, the point is that we want to strengthen the ego’s choices based on reality, okay? So again, we’re bringing consciousness back into the mix.

    06:22 Now, this therapy is what you normally associate when you think of psychotherapy and that’s sitting there on a chair and talking, or a sofa.

    06:31 And so that’s why it’s given the term talk therapy, where you respond in some of the questions he asks, but it’s you more so driving what’s coming out.

    06:41 So it’s not the therapist talking a lot, it’s you talking a lot.

    06:45 And the therapist’s job is to sit there and try and map out and look for certain childhood events or unconscious feelings that you’re having, and then make that link and say, “Okay.

    06:56 We think that the behavior that you’re illustrating right now is linked to this childhood event or this unconscious thing that has happened and so, therefore, let’s address that and modulate your behavior using conscious or in-the-now techniques.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Freud's Psychosexual Stages – Personality (PSY) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Individual Influences on Behavior.


    Author of lecture Freud's Psychosexual Stages – Personality (PSY)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD


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