Freudian theory


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Related to Freudian theory: Freudian slip, Jungian theory

Freudian theory

A set of propositions about human personality and behaviour derived from observations of patients engaged in FREE ASSOCIATION at a time in social history when the expression of sexuality was normally repressed. Such expression, often in symbolic form, convinced Freud that sex was at the basis of most psychopathology. He asserted that the uncovering of repressed unpleasant early experiences would disperse the psychopathology which he claimed they had caused. He proposed arbitrary divisions of the mind into SUPEREGO, EGO and ID. He asserted that infants pass though three stages-oral (birth to 18 months), anal (2–5 years) and phallic (5 years onward), and that the personality could be fixed at any of these stages with serious consequences, curable only by psychoanalysis. He proposed the OEDIPUS COMPLEX and the castration complex. Freud's ideas and discoveries continue to have wide influence, but are not now generally believed to have any scientific basis. There is little convincing evidence that the application of his theories in psychoanalysis has any specific value in the treatment of psychological disturbance.