Personality: Development and Assessment

By Charles M. Harsh; H. G. Schrickel | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 14
The Psychoanalytic Movement

The psychoanalytic approach to personality has probably been more influential in the development of personology than any other theoretical movement. Certainly no other body of theory has been more praised or more damned. Further, psychoanalytic theorists have probably been more determinative of current conceptions regarding personality than any other similar group. So provocative and seminal a tradition of theory and practice is worthy of the closest attention of the personologist. The beginning student who attempts direct study of the vast body of psychoanalytic writings is more apt to find his efforts frustrated than rewarded. The whirls and eddies of Freudianism as it runs through the mainstream of contemporary psychological theory have multiplied with the passing years. Numerous summaries of the Freudian and neo-Freudian theories of personality are available; the reader is urged to consult one or more of these to supplement the rather brief and elementary accounts which follow (Cf. esp. Munroe, 1955).


FREUD

In what follows, the discerning student will recognize many of the concepts and terms as having already been employed in Part I to describe the development and dynamics of personality. Hence the primary function of the present discussion will be to bring together basic psychoanalytic ideas for the purpose of giving the reader the opportunity to see in outline the theory as a whole and to trace its development from its beginnings up to the present.

BASIC URGES. Psychoanalysis is first and foremost a motivational approach to personality. It is concerned not so much with an ac-

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