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Stages of psychosexual development

Freud believed that personality develops during early childhood: Childhood experiences shape our personalities as well as our behavior as adults. He asserted that we develop via a series of stages during childhood. Each of us must pass through these childhood stages, and if we do not have the proper nurturing and parenting during a stage, we will be stuck, or fixated, in that stage, even as adults.

In each psychosexual stage of development , the child’s pleasure-seeking urges, coming from the id, are focused on a different area of the body, called an erogenous zone. The stages are oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital ( [link] ).

Freud’s psychosexual development theory is quite controversial. To understand the origins of the theory, it is helpful to be familiar with the political, social, and cultural influences of Freud’s day in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century. During this era, a climate of sexual repression, combined with limited understanding and education surrounding human sexuality, heavily influenced Freud’s perspective. Given that sex was a taboo topic, Freud assumed that negative emotional states (neuroses) stemmed from suppression of unconscious sexual and aggressive urges. For Freud, his own recollections and interpretations of patients’ experiences and dreams were sufficient proof that psychosexual stages were universal events in early childhood.

Freud’s stages of psychosexual development
Stage Age (years) Erogenous Zone Major Conflict Adult Fixation Example
Oral 0–1 Mouth Weaning off breast or bottle Smoking, overeating
Anal 1–3 Anus Toilet training Neatness, messiness
Phallic 3–6 Genitals Oedipus/Electra complex Vanity, overambition
Latency 6–12 None None None
Genital 12+ Genitals None None

Oral stage

In the oral stage    (birth to 1 year), pleasure is focused on the mouth. Eating and the pleasure derived from sucking (nipples, pacifiers, and thumbs) play a large part in a baby’s first year of life. At around 1 year of age, babies are weaned from the bottle or breast, and this process can create conflict if not handled properly by caregivers. According to Freud, an adult who smokes, drinks, overeats, or bites her nails is fixated in the oral stage of her psychosexual development; she may have been weaned too early or too late, resulting in these fixation tendencies, all of which seek to ease anxiety.

Anal stage

After passing through the oral stage, children enter what Freud termed the anal stage    (1–3 years). In this stage, children experience pleasure in their bowel and bladder movements, so it makes sense that the conflict in this stage is over toilet training. Freud suggested that success at the anal stage depended on how parents handled toilet training. Parents who offer praise and rewards encourage positive results and can help children feel competent. Parents who are harsh in toilet training can cause a child to become fixated at the anal stage, leading to the development of an anal-retentive personality. The anal-retentive personality is stingy and stubborn, has a compulsive need for order and neatness, and might be considered a perfectionist. If parents are too lenient in toilet training, the child might also become fixated and display an anal-expulsive personality. The anal-expulsive personality is messy, careless, disorganized, and prone to emotional outbursts.

Phallic stage

Freud’s third stage of psychosexual development is the phallic stage    (3–6 years), corresponding to the age when children become aware of their bodies and recognize the differences between boys and girls. The erogenous zone in this stage is the genitals. Conflict arises when the child feels a desire for the opposite-sex parent, and jealousy and hatred toward the same-sex parent. For boys, this is called the Oedipus complex, involving a boy's desire for his mother and his urge to replace his father who is seen as a rival for the mother’s attention. At the same time, the boy is afraid his father will punish him for his feelings, so he experiences castration anxiety . The Oedipus complex is successfully resolved when the boy begins to identify with his father as an indirect way to have the mother. Failure to resolve the Oedipus complex may result in fixation and development of a personality that might be described as vain and overly ambitious.

Girls experience a comparable conflict in the phallic stage—the Electra complex. The Electra complex, while often attributed to Freud, was actually proposed by Freud’s protégé, Carl Jung (Jung&Kerenyi, 1963). A girl desires the attention of her father and wishes to take her mother’s place. Jung also said that girls are angry with the mother for not providing them with a penis—hence the term penis envy . While Freud initially embraced the Electra complex as a parallel to the Oedipus complex, he later rejected it, yet it remains as a cornerstone of Freudian theory, thanks in part to academics in the field (Freud, 1931/1968; Scott, 2005).

Latency period

Following the phallic stage of psychosexual development is a period known as the latency period    (6 years to puberty). This period is not considered a stage, because sexual feelings are dormant as children focus on other pursuits, such as school, friendships, hobbies, and sports. Children generally engage in activities with peers of the same sex, which serves to consolidate a child’s gender-role identity.

Genital stage

The final stage is the genital stage    (from puberty on). In this stage, there is a sexual reawakening as the incestuous urges resurface. The young person redirects these urges to other, more socially acceptable partners (who often resemble the other-sex parent). People in this stage have mature sexual interests, which for Freud meant a strong desire for the opposite sex. Individuals who successfully completed the previous stages, reaching the genital stage with no fixations, are said to be well-balanced, healthy adults.

While most of Freud’s ideas have not found support in modern research, we cannot discount the contributions that Freud has made to the field of psychology. It was Freud who pointed out that a large part of our mental life is influenced by the experiences of early childhood and takes place outside of our conscious awareness; his theories paved the way for others.

Summary

Sigmund Freud presented the first comprehensive theory of personality. He was also the first to recognize that much of our mental life takes place outside of our conscious awareness. Freud also proposed three components to our personality: the id, ego, and superego. The job of the ego is to balance the sexual and aggressive drives of the id with the moral ideal of the superego. Freud also said that personality develops through a series of psychosexual stages. In each stage, pleasure focuses on a specific erogenous zone. Failure to resolve a stage can lead one to become fixated in that stage, leading to unhealthy personality traits. Successful resolution of the stages leads to a healthy adult.

Personal application questions

What are some examples of defense mechanisms that you have used yourself or have witnessed others using?

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Questions & Answers

I often saw cat in my dreams nd thats why i m afraid of cats.. wherever i see cat i just escape from that place what is this nd why this happens
Tasneem Reply
usually whatever you see during the day or what impacted you in the slightest, will appear in your dream.
The
What kind of dream? Why you afraid of cat because you dream about it? Bad dream?
Yoselin
i saw cat nd lizard nd oftenly they attack me nd i could not save my self nd then i wakeup nd feels fear
Tasneem
from childhood i like cata nd play with it but now because of that dreams i dont like cats nd lizards
Tasneem
some times you feels uncomfortable to cat have around you ,but still you should take out from fear..
Kanzul
yes i want to take out this fear but i cannot face cat wherever i see cat i feel fear
Tasneem
you know your weakness, that is it..you should see the videos on cats ..it will be enough for you.. after that you see the variation in your mind illusions
Kanzul
if it is more fear, you take Consultancy from psychiatrist..
Kanzul
thats the problem i can't see cats videos i dont wanna see cats or lizards
Tasneem
what you think? that cat attack on you..😅
Kanzul
is there any past memory relate with this?
Kanzul
yes i think that cat will attack me but i just saw cats in dreams attacking me
Tasneem
can you understand hindi?
Kanzul
urdu
Tasneem
اچھا ہے..آپ نے کبھی علم نفسیات اور خواب کی تعبیرات کی کتابیں پڑی ہے..اپنے آپ کو درست کرنے کے لیے یہ سب سے بہترین نسخہ ہے..
Kanzul
the cat is your mind reflecting your Self. you are not afraid of cats, the cat is just a symbol for the fear you have of life and death. Cat is life, cat eats lizard, cat brings death. You are either the cat or the lizard, in your subconscious mind.
Will
next time you dream, ask your mind to become the cat
Will
Where is semantic memory u mentioned the name but didn't disscuss the topic..?
Iqra Reply
If u have want to make happy ur babby not by blood but by heart by giving all ur time to them but ur mother wants u to gave that time on urself and ur studies and that makes her happy and mom doesnot know that i accept her as my babby she thought she is just my friend
Iqra
Actually she is 4 years younger than me but i love her and said my baabby to her what should i do now?
Iqra
If anyone can help me plz do it i am super depressed
Iqra
Hlo Iqra...
IAS
Hi!
Iqra
?
Iqra
If u r in real conjunction wd him say ur mom fluently that I wana make him mine I feel depressed
IAS
Mom has best hearing power as to understood her/his baby
IAS
But my mom dont accept that she think i am just runing my life
Iqra
U have to b very clear wd ur mom
IAS
Where from u
IAS
Well i didn't tell about that but i said i love her she is like my soul sister and i love to gave her time but she said if u want to meat her itsok but dont talk on phone because u consume alot time on her and thats not fair
Iqra
Bhai i am from earth
Iqra
How can I suggest u it WL take alot time
IAS
Actually she dont like her because i gave 3 to 4 hours on phone to her
Iqra
Where frm u r?
IAS
Okay thank u so much bhai i think i got my answer
Iqra
whats your relation with her ? where you meet her nd why your mom forbid you from talking with her
Tasneem
Ur most welcome sister
IAS
She live in my neighborhood we are frnds from childhood but she is 4 yeras younger than me thats why i called her my bachaa and i gave alot of time to her because she have no sister brother and also no frnd and my mom dont like that
Iqra
Because 3 to 4 hours on phone she dont like usage of phone so much no one did accept me infront her thats why she is against her she dont hate her she just said meet her face to face not on phone
Iqra
Okay thank u so much all of u now i am feeling good and got my answe also
Iqra
yeah your mom said right but dont talk too face to face sometimes things that are above limits leads to problems
Tasneem
welcome😊
Tasneem
Yeah u are right inshallah everything will be alright soon
Iqra
Thank u
Iqra
inshaa allah..
Tasneem
i have a question?
Melissa
Yea
Iqra
Yes u can ask
Iqra
what is one strategy that would promote positive risk taking behavior?
Melissa
I dont know
Iqra
Why do I get upset when my girlfriend doesn't tell me she loves me back in front of her friends?
Apollo Reply
Do not depend on her, or don't hope just take care of her ..it doesn't matter that how much she love you..matter that how much you love her..
Kanzul
Because you're insecure, read "The Rational Male" by Rollo Tomassi if you want to make sure that you and your girlfriend are/remain satisfied in your relationship
Leon
and don't listen to Kanzul, don't be a pushover
Leon
may be you are suspicios if she stay around her male friends
Kanzul
Thank you both, yeah umm it makes sense that I'm insecure and yeah I mean I do love her alot the thing is it's not with her Male friends it's in general.
Apollo
But also what is considered a pushover so I can avoid that Leon
Apollo
what is this that a persom constantly saw dream from very early age till now nd saw same dream what is this
Tasneem Reply
Your soul
Candy
how
Tasneem
it is your inner being,it knows, your heart,inner spirit
Candy
dayshavoo
Candy
thank you
Tasneem
😊
Tasneem
samething keeps happening,repeat
Candy
why do I have dreams of my boyfriend boss
Nicole Reply
Because you love him and his memories. Or that you are reminded of him very often.
Jobin
There are some explanation why we have dream. It can be just your brain picking random memory in your brain when you sleep (eventhough we sleep our brain still working) and this random memory your brain pick out become your dream
Kelly
👍
Jobin
or this boss left an impression in you, but it doesn't necessarily mean you have a romantic feelings towards this person. Maybe this boss just do some random thing and it left an impression in your memory and you still think about it subconsciously when you sleep and it manifested itself in ur dream
Kelly
That is perfectly normal and no cause for worry. You might not want to tell your boyfriend though ;)
Leon
What do you think is the reason for your friends or the family members coming into the dreams especially wet dreams? And after that what's the feeling of the person?
Jobin
how to get rid of fearful avoidant issues
Alexsus Reply
Do you think that seminary student needs psychological studies?
Jobin Reply
I think it's best for high schoolers.. we all should be aware of what we are
Alexsus
Yes definitely, especially in an age like this were more and more I've observed students not knowing what they truly are and not knowing how to deal with psychological issues. Plus, it gives them the advantage of knowing how to deal with other people with different ideas and issues.
Tav
Absolutely. How would you be able to make any serious decisions in your life, when you are a mess and don't understand your feelings, motivation and reasoning behind this or that issue. Moreover, I think whether you are a seminary student or not, you should also be taught critical thinking skills.
Sofia
Thank you all
Jobin
whats is schizophrenia
mobile Reply
long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.
Amber
What is burn out syndrome?
Jobin
Emotional and physical exhaustion which appears after a long period of stress.
Avram
what is social conflict
deen Reply
a conversation with someone & having conflict with .
Candy
Soory Guys hope you ar doing well Im in strong desire to get this kind of book INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY but ther cost is too and I'm not able to buy it If you see this announcement please I need soft copy even few please
jacobo
Anybody who is able to access this book just help even soft copy to saves me Im so soory
jacobo
Deen social conflict means misunderstand occurred among the people in a certain social context can be caused by poor governance
jacobo
what is top-notch?
Vi Reply
excellent? the best?
Travis
the very best.
Snuffles
best of something. above the expectation
Jem
something like expert level
Evil
zenith
Syed
Hi! what is introspection?
jacobo
the ultimate best.. of excellent quality
Melissa
honor and respect
Randall
Understanding
Candy
Hi! This book INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY I'm not able to buy anybody can help me even soft copy
jacobo
i want some pdf books who can help me
Google "libgen", you can download almost any book there. I can't send the link as links are blocked by the app
Leon
is there any website where I can get a true diagnosis of a personality disorder I think I may possess? I can't seek therapy due to insurance complications
Bailey Reply
Well most websites that offer actual medical diagnoses cost money or they will connect you to a doctor for some sort of meeting.
Elise
yeah I've been looking for a decent site for around a year now and that's all Ive found thank you
Bailey
Yeah it is quite hard to find a reliable site.
Elise
diagnosis couldn't get from a websites. you have to refer a doctors for a consultation.
Muhamad
please which site can I download child psychology textbook?
patience
Compare and contrast situational influences and dispositional influences and give an example of each. Explain how situational influences and dispositional influences might explain inappropriate behavior.
Babafemi Reply
please tell me about ethical consideration and research method
Its Reply
what is an ethical consideration that is what a search for my research is seeking out the truth what lies in the darkness and it's hidden by the light
Rev
Ethical consideration includes the risk of doing your research
Mary
***cirt.gcu.edu/research/developmentresources/tutorials/ethics
Amanda
as well as the research can not have lasting affects on the subjects.
Amanda
Is this live
Little
We as researchers should not harm the subjects of our research, be it the population under study or the selected sample. I think ethical consideration requires that we disclose as much as is practically possible about the requirements of the research to all concerned.
Abel
It is ethically sound also to to acknowledge others' findings wherever we reference them in our research because we are to build and grow the body of knowledge by building on the research others have done. This is my contribution.
Abel
What is CBT?
ANTONIO Reply
cognitive behavioral therapy
Joni
When they use this CBT?
zahir
what is cbt
Timothy
mostly used to help treat anxiety and depression related diagnosis. But it's used in other types of mental health issues.
Joni
cognitive behavioral therapy. As stated earlier in this discussion.
Joni
Thank yoi
zahir
Hello! Does anyone have access of these books or articles. (E.Fuller Torrey-Freudian Freud:The malignant effect of freud's theory on American Thought and culture) (Richard Webster-Why Freud was wrong:sin,science and psychoanalysis)?
Amina Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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