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Sigmund Freud - Psychosexual Development

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Jamie Crabb

on 10 April 2014

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Transcript of Sigmund Freud - Psychosexual Development

Foundations: A science of neuroses and normative sexuality
'the foundation for his theory of neuroses'
(Stafford-Clark, 1965, p.104).

Freud's Scientific methods were 'positivist'
- identifying experienced and observed 'facts'
in order to develop general scientific laws about the ways in which phenomena are related.

'It is very curious that an important discovery of this kind was not actually made on the individuals where, after all, it could be seen, but was made during the study of adults who, in the form of their neurotic illnesses, were pointing back to important happenings in childhood' (A Freud, 1992, p.41).

Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality

1. Sexual aberrations
2. Infantile sexuality
3. Transformations of puberty
Anal phase (approx 1.5 - 3 years)

Primary phases (approx. 1-2 years)
A Scandal: Infantile Sexuality
'Sexual life does not begin only at puberty, but starts with plain manifestations soon after birth'
(Stafford-Clark, 1965, p.107).

Freud theorised the
'pleasure pain principle'
believing that from birth we possess an instinctual drive towards sexual gratification -

Libido 'instinct has a source...the body...not only a source but an aim...to reduce the tension, the action of finding satisfaction. And further each instinct has an object...the person on whom that action is carried out is the object' (A Freud, 1992, p.59).

Sexuality is the paradigm for all desire; infantile sexuality is primitive desire, rooted in the body...Infantile sexuality has important differences from adult sexuality, and may be more accurately defined as bodily pleasure which precedes and leads towards adult sexuality (Gomez, 1997, p.12, 21).
Anally Fixated
Dissatisfaction/overindulged at the Anal stage:

Anal retentive (due to strictness) - holding back in rebellion, obsessive compulsive, stinginess, excessive tidiness, perfectionism, and stubbornness.

Anal expulsive (liberal toilet training) - lack of self control, carelessness, and messy behaviour

Sigmund Freud

Psychosexual Development;
the Oedipus

Psychosexual Development
Normative Personality Development
(ID, EGO & Super EGO formation)

'Freud maintained that the adult mind can only be understood in terms
of the formative experiences of the child' (Gomez, 1997, p.12).

For Freud mental and emotiona
l maturity is gained
through psychosexual developmental stages:

Primary phases: Primary Narcisissm
(Auto-erotic) & Oral
Phallic (Oedipus Complex)

'Anal pleasure comes first from the physical satisfaction of emptying the bowels, and the secondary reward is the mental satisfaction that the child feels from performing this function for the parents'
(Stafford-Clark, 1965, p.108)

Symbolic pleasure value: 'to the child very much prized - namely a part of his own body'
(A Freud, 1992, p.45)

demands of 'potty training' and thus further control of pleasure, and resistance to control - testing parents authority
(start of conflict of ID, EGO and Super EGO)...

'Holding on to the contents of the rectum, obstinately refusing to do one’s job in the pot, are ways of defying parental authority (Stafford-Clark, 1965, p.108)

Aim: positively reinforce the feeling that the child is capable of controlling bladder/defecation
= it is also about learning to control all
behaviors and urges
Primary narcissism (Auto-erotic):
No sense of distinction or externality
Baby seeks gratification from its own / mothers body - barely differentiated
Polymorphously perverse - capacity for pleasure distorted - pleasure gained from many parts / whole surface of body

The possibilities for gratification of the sexual instinct narrow as the infant develops:
Oral stage:
Intense gratification is centered on the mouth and serves the purpose of self-preservation by means of feeding and nourishment
'Obstinate persistence in sucking...evidence at an early stage of a need for satisfaction... to obtain pleasure independently of nourishment and for that reason may and should be termed sexual'
(Freud in Stafford-Clark, 1965, p.107 - 108).
Transferal to auto-erotic objects: thumb-sucking, dummies, objects, biting habits

As infant grows oral pleasure begins to be prohibited
by parents to encourage control
of self-satisfaction

Orally Fixated

Dissatisfaction/overindulged at the Oral stage -
adult with dependent personality - reduces tension or anxiety through eating, drinking, smoking, etc and dependence on others to fulfill needs

According to Freud - whether these traits become part of one’s personality depends on the amount of frustration experienced in the oral stage

'Children who are denied [or allowed] too much satisfaction in one phase keep a resentment and hankering after the pleasures of that phase, which means they become fixed-or, as we say, 'fixated'- to that phase, so that at the time when they should be adults in the sexuality they still pursue oral...wishes' (A Freud, 1992, p.49).
According to Freud - whether these traits become part of one’s personality depends on the amount of frustration experienced in the anal stage
Phallic stage
(approx 3 - 6 years)

Latent phase (6 - puberty)
Developing awareness of erogenous zones of the body - the genitals (penis and clitoris)
Sensetistation and stimulation / playing with genitals awakens understanding of genital pleasure

'the normal tendency of the infant to explore his or her own body and such accidental sensations as being dried after a bath... even feeling the movement of air on the genital regions...can alert attention to the capacity of these areas to provide a special and intensely keen physical sensation of pleasure'
(Stafford-Clark, 1965, p.109).

Differences between anatomical male/female sex becomes more apparent to infant and thus the onset of the Oedipus Complex...

Mother is boys first object of love and in phallic stage longed for prize to possess
Father is hindrance - stands in the way as 'possesses' the mother and means of gratification (life's purpose)
Boy attributes feelings to father - increases fear of retaliation and 'castration complex' (aggravated by subtle threats / discouragement of stimulation of penis
Fear of castration leads to symbolic castration - gives up hope of possessing mother (and may turn against her)
Identifies with father and masculine traits - looks outside family for sexual gratification

Freud believed 'the Super-Ego, or conscience, thus derives from a battle with society which is resolved through the accepting of social mores' (Gomez, 1997, p.22)

Freud believed difficulties experienced during the Oedipal stages could led to sexual aberrations and neuroses...
The female Oedipal complex is much contested and less convincing...

Basis in male experience
Girl realises genitals of opposite sex are different
Interprets male genitals as 'whole' and herself as castrated...
Blames mother who is also castrated...
To achieve completion of penis that she lacks '
penis envy
' - fantasises sexual possession and birth fantasy of the father
In opposition to Oedipal - girl gives up hope of possessing father
Identifies with mother and feminine traits - looks outside family for sexual gratification

Feminism has critiqued the inadequacies of
the the Oedipus Complex due to its

Genital phase (puberty - 18)
Sexual development more or less suspended - libido is dormant
Repressing and sublimating of earlier sexual (Oedipal) desires - sexual energy is sublimated towards school work, hobbies and friendships
Learning to follow reality-principle (Super-Ego)
Freud saw latency as a period of unparalleled repression of sexual desires and erogenous impulses
Reawakening of errogenous zones
Non-narcissistic behaviour that develops in the direction of biological reproduction
adolescent sexual experimentation, the successful resolution of settling down in a loving one-to-one relationship
Critiquing Freud:

'concepts were not derived from the natural scientific methods of experiment and verification. Instead, they arose from introspection and retrospection, in large part Freud's own. The Freudian picture of the infant and child was reconstructed primarily through...self analysis...and only secondly through his interpretations of his adult patients' experiences and memories...'
(Gomez, 1997, p.13).

Abandonment of seduction theory for Oedipal may have led to overlooking of sexual abuse
Heteronormative, patriarchal (his time), focus on male sexuality - difficulty incorporating female desire
Began to move away from 'drives' and towards object relations towards the end of this life

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