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Is Freud’s Personality Theory Still Relevant?

is Freud still relevant?

Very few things survive the test of time by remaining unable or unwilling to change. It was 1895 when Sigmund Freud introduced his work in the area of human personality with the publishing of his book entitled “Studies on Hysteria.” Almost 120 years later, it remains one of the few works continuing to impact the entirety of mental health treatment. This raises a legitimate question: Is Freud’s Personality Theory Relevant Today?

It has undergone many iterations by several equally talented theorists. Each one adding to the Freudian paradigm. In addition, the work done by Freud in the field of experimental psychology gave approval for others to offer their findings. A goal of this article is to examine whether Freud’s personality theory and psychodynamic theory as its extension are still relevant.

We already discussed core concepts of Freud’s personality theory in the previous post, so here is just a brief summary. In a nutshell, Freud identified five stages of growth occurring from infancy through adulthood:

Oral: 0 – 1.5 years of age

Anal: 1.5 to 3 years of age

Phallic: 3 – 5 year of age

Latency: 5 – 12 years of age

Genital: 12 – adulthood

The experiences and information from those stages is sorted by three levels of the human mind:

Conscious  – associated with super ego

Unconscious   associated with ego

Subconscious associated with id

Imbedded in the Freudian theory is his own terminology with its dependence on human sexuality as the genesis of our behavior. As indicated in his five stages of development each stage is associated with a healthy management of the impulses, needs, and desires of each stage. Failure to do this may result in personality flaws and mental disorders.