Personality theorist are interested in the structure of an individual, how are people “put together”, how do they “work” and how do they “fall apart” (Boeree, n.d). Other personality theorists go as far as saying that they are looking for the essence of life, what it means to be a human being. Since the science of personality can be so complex, many psychologists have dedicated their life to the field of personality, attempting to understand and clarify what makes each individual unique and different from everyone. Several personality theories were born in the course of time, two of those theories of personality are called psychoanalytical and humanistic theories. This paper ...view middle of the document...
Other fundament assumptions of the psychodynamic theory of personality originate from the original psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud, according to Freud’s psychoanalytic speculations, personality is made of three components the id, ego and super-ego (Feist & Feist, 2009) and behavior is initiated by a sex/life drive and a aggressive/death drive, finally, both the psychoanalytic and the psychodynamic theories, assume that the unconscious mind is in continuous conflict with the conscious mind consequently shaping the individual’s personality (McLeod, 2007).
Strengths and Limitations
As every other theory, the psychodynamic theories contained its advantages and disadvantages. The psychodynamic theory of personality is considered of “comprehensive nature”, meaning that the theory attempted to comprehend and explain aspects of the human behavior, the theory also was capable of examination of complex behavior such as the unconscious mind and defense mechanisms, this approach also required new procedures for testing these complex behaviors, therefore new innovative techniques were developed. The theory also highlighted the importance of childhood in the formation of personality; furthermore this theory’s was utilized in the field of personality and other areas. On the contrary, the psychodynamic theory often times portrayed human nature in a negative manner by saying that the human mind was directed by the unconscious mind, some of the language used was ambiguous and easily misunderstood, the theory was deemed biased since it was mostly based on a small sample of the population, moreover, the theory lacked empirical support and was difficult to prove wrong (Carducci, 2009).
Determinism Vs Free Will
Based on the fundamental assumptions, the psychodynamic theory believes that “all behavior has a cause (usually unconscious), even slips of the tongue. Therefore all behavior is determined” (McLeod, 2007). Hence the personality theory is based on determinism, meaning that behavior is determined by unconscious motives created by biological drives and early experiences (Sammons, n.d), leaving little, or no credit to free will, which is the opportunity an individual has to make a decision.
Humanistic theories views and studies the individual as a whole, therefore they look at human behavior not only from the outside perspective but also internally. This psychological approach developed as some sort of revolt against psychodynamic and behavioral advances (McLeod, 2007). Contrary to psychodynamic theories, humanism rejected the idea that unconscious and instinctive forces determined human behavior. As the psychodynamic theory, the humanistic theories were studied by various significant scientists, including American psychologists Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. According to McLeod (2007), the impact of the humanistic approach during the 1970s and 1980s can be understood in three main stipulations, this approach “offered...