Sigmund freuds theory and carl rogers theory

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The Psychodynamic approach came about in the 19th Century, the most famous person connected to this approach was Sigmund Freud. Freud believed that everything we do, say or the way we behave is due to our childhood. This is where Freud came up with psychosexual stages. Freud believed that if at any time during the psychosexual stages there were problems, this would have a lasting effect on the individual's personality. Someone who was weaned too early and did not receive enough suckling pleasures, would be affected in adulthood and may be too fond of eating, drinking or smoking. (into to psychology)

The psychodynamic approach works with the intension of releasing a person's hidden emotions and feelings and bringing them to the surface, so they can observe, analyse and understand them. Freud developed a collection of different ideologies, which helped him to create the foundations of the psychodynamic approach to psychology. One of Freud's theories was the conscious mind, the pre-conscious proper and the sub-conscious mind. Freud believed that the human personality had more than one aspect to it. This is when Freud found that we had a conscious mind, pre-conscious proper and a sub-conscious mind. The sub-conscious is where memories that one want's to block out and forget and are now subversive and invisible. The pre-conscious proper is where memories are stored and can be brought to one's conscious mind when wanted or needed to. Freud believed the human mind was like an iceberg, the conscious mind was above water level and the pre-conscious proper and sub-conscious is under water and therefore not easily accessible. (Jarvis. 2000).

"The conscious mind may be compared to a fountain playing in the sun and falling back into the great subterranean pool of subconscious from which it rises."

Sigmund Freud. Retrieved November 16, 2010, from Web site:

Freud's main assumption about the human mind and a person's driving force, which also affects one's behaviour, is sexual instinct. Freud said this drive operated in the unconscious mind, which Freud named as the id also known as the intrinsic drive. Another two aspects of the mind Freud came up with was the ego and superego. The ego is there to mediate the demands coming from one's id. The third personality known as the superego is there to represent one's conscience and ideal self. The super ego is like a negative parent who is letting one know what one has done wrong. The id and superego are on opposite sides and are in constant conflict with each other. It is the ego's job to reduce the conflict and be the mediator between the two (Donald Pennington 2002).

T times the ego can have a difficult time mediating between the id and the superego, so the ego will employ a defence mechanism, which will help defend the ego. Defence mechanisms are used as an impulsive protection against anxiety and one's fragile self. Defences are used by everyone to avoid catastrophic consequences of an event in the outside world. These defence mechanisms can take the form of:

Denial - not wanting to believe in reality.

Regression - going back to an early stage such as childhood and behaving in that way.

Displacement - redirecting emotions onto someone or something else rather than the person or object they have the anger or hurt from. (Counselling skills for Social Work)

A term used by Freud in his theory of psychosexual development, explains a boy's feelings of desire and love to his mother and envious, bitter anger towards his father. Freud believed that the boy wishes to possess his mother and not have his father around, as he believes his father is a competing for his mother's affections. The Oedipal complex occurs in the phallic stage of psychosexual development. This ideological was named after Oedipus Rex who killed his father and married his mother.

According to Freud during the female psychosexual development stage a young girl is initially attached to her mother. Once the young girl has discovered that she does not have a penis, she then becomes devoted to her father and starts to begrudge and hate her mother, as she blames her mother for her castration. Freud believed that the girl then begins to identify with her mother out of fear of losing her love. ( )

Carl Rogers was the founding father of person-centred theory. Person-centred therapy is based on the belief that the client in therapy is the expert on themselves and is able to work out the solutions to their problems. Rogers research and experiential work was focused on the psychological conditions for allowing the individual to open communication and empowering themselves to achieve their goals and desires. Rogers's theory is based on personality and not behaviour and the most important concept of this theory is the self. (Introduction to psychology)

"... the best vantage point for understanding behaviour is from the internal flame of reference of the individual himself." Pg 399 introduction to psychology

Rogers said that to help a person during person-centred therapy, the therapist needs to have three core conditions. These are known as empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard, without these core conditions a relationship between the therapist and client cannot be built and a lack of trust towards the counsellor is made. Rogers, C. (1980). Way of Being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Self-actualisation is the basic driving force motivating the human organism to self-actualise and reach their potential to the fullest. Not everyone can clearly perceive which way leads to growth and which way leads to regression, but once they find the right way that person will choose to grow and progress and not to regress. This will lead a person on to self-actualisation. (intro to psychology)

This theory reminded Rogers of an early experience, which concerned potatoes that had grown in his basement at his childhood home. They were kept in a box in the basement and a small amount of sunlight was able to shine through a small window. It was very unlikely for these potatoes to grow and yet they did, they grew towards the sunlight. These plants were symbolic to Rogers as he believed that even potatoes self-actualised.

Rogers believed the self came in three parts, the organismic self, the self concept and the ideal self. The organismic self is who we really are, deep down inside. Very rarely is this self exposed as there may be too many reasons or pressures to be able to be the real person inside. The self concept is the self we have become because that is the way we feel we have to be, due to our parents, peers or society. The ideal self is who we would like to be, but can never reach, because if we get to their ideal self then it is not ideal anymore. (Stella's handout)

"The organism has one basic tendency and striving - to actualize, maintain and enhance the experiencing organism." Pg 399 Introduction to psychology

Looking at Freud and Rogers at first glance you would think there were no similarities between the two. Having a deeper look into both their theories one will find several similarities, such as:

Both Freud and Rogers talk about innate drives, such as Freud's id and Rogers's organismic self.

Like Freud, Rogers developed his theory and ideas through emotionally troubled people.

One of the key similarities between these two theorists is the period in which they produced their ideas, they date back a long time ago.

Rogers does not analyse a patient's history, whereas Freud believed a person's childhood was a key part to their problems.

Rogers's ideal self is positive; it is a goal for someone to reach and progress further onto their next ideal self. Freud's super ego is negative, as the super ego tells you what you are doing wrong.

Rogers's believed that it was not only humans that self-actualised but so do all living things such as animals and his potato theory. Freud only spoke about and looked at human beings.

Rogers treated a person as a whole, whereas Freud believed we exist in three parts, such as the super ego, ego and id.

In conclusion, we can tell that there are more differences between the two than there are similarities, but both theories have some very valid points and without these today the psychodynamic theory and person-centred theory may not work so well in treating their clients.

Sigmund Freud. Retrieved November 16, 2010, from Web site: Rogers, C. (1980). Way of Being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Donald Pennington, introducing psychology: approaches, topics and methods, Kent, Hodder Arnold

Theoretical approaches in psychology Edition illustrated, reprint Publisher Routledge, 2000 Matt Jarvis

introduction to psychology

Psychology an integrated approach, Michael Eysenck, Longman 1998 New York