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Classical Theorists of Personality

Understanding the theories and concepts that seek to explain how personality develops of materializes through manifestations in way of thinking, actions, and behavior, is regarded as significant to solidifying justifications of human behavior and thinking as based on their personality.

The importance of this particular concept in psychology, that is understanding personality through the guidance of theories of personality, is supported by sociological concepts which look into the significance of explicating why human beings act, react, or respond in a specific manner in order to determine behavioral problems and learn hot to address them appropriately and efficiently.

(Magnavita, 2001) For instance, the issue of violence toward the female population is a sociological problem which shall be efficiently addressed by understanding the personality profiles of offenders and determining how violence is to be prevented by curbing factors that influence violent personalities and prejudices toward women. At this point, we realize how learning theories of personality is severely important, first in describing how personality is formed, and understanding how various factors contribute to this formation.

With this in mind, the remainder of this text will look into three theories of personality established by three well-known theorists – Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Carl Jung. Freud and Freudian Psychology Sigmund Freud was an Austrian psychiatrist who was well-known for being the father of psychoanalysis. He was born to in Frieberg, Moravia on the 6th of May 1856 to his mother, Amalia who was his father’s second wife among others. Freud’s cognitive abilities were already observable at a young age where he displayed academic excellence in school.

Despite being confronted with criticisms from his own father, Freud was able to handle his personal problems and channel his skills and abilities to further his education. He became a student at the University of Vienna at the age of seventeen wherein he took up and finished a degree in medicine. It was during this time that he showed interest in psychology being influenced by the works of Darwin on the origins and evolution of man. From Darwin’s theories’, Freud was able to establish the connection between physiology and evolution to human behavior.

Freud also started exploring the field of psychiatry, and from then on, he was able to contribute knowledge and information to the industry such as the application of hypnotherapy, free association, the Freudian slip, psychoanalysis, and such. (“Sigmund Freud, 2008) However, one of the most important contributions of Freud aside from the psychosexual origins of personality which suggests that the actions and behaviors of man was influenced by his sexual needs, desires, or drives, was his theory of dreams. Dreams, according to Freud, were portals to the subconscious of the human mind.

The content of one’s dreams were supposed to provide an insight on the innermost thoughts, needs, and desires of human beings which in turn influence their way of thinking, actions, and behaviors subconsciously. For Freud, each dream represents hidden meanings or symbols that once interpreted, reveal the suppressed emotions, needs, desires, or drives of human beings. The non-acknowledgment and non-fulfillment of these emotions, needs, desires, or drives leads to tense and chaotic sleep and way of life, while the acknowledgment and fulfillment of such leads to inner concord and peace of mind.

(Wilson, 2009) Adler and Adlerian Psychology Alfred Adler, like Freud, was born in Austria. Adler carried out his two duties, being a medical doctor and at the same time, a psychologist. He was also known as the founder of individual psychology which focuses on reviewing and understanding the innate traits, features, or characteristics of an individual that determine his way of thinking and behavior. He was born on the 7th of February 1870 in Penzing, Austria. When he was a child, he experienced the difficulties of having contracted dangerous illnesses or diseases such as rickets and pneumonia.

It greatly affected his sense of self as it influenced his bodily functions. However, Adler chose to take his experiences positively by vowing to become a medical doctor when he grows up in order to help people who suffer because of various medical conditions. Like Freud, he also displayed academic excellence, especially in the field of mathematics. He also attended the University of Vienna where he graduated from a medical degree. During his practice, he came across the works of Freud, and from that point, he became interested in studying psychology, particularly the personality of individuals and their self-concept.

(“Alfred Adler,” 2008) The classical Adlerian theory of personality looks into the influence of the human nature of needing to fulfill insufficiencies that individuals identify with every task, activity, role, responsibility, and such, that they have to accomplish. Based on these insufficiencies, an individual is able to set clear goals and objectives on what he wants to accomplish in various fields. The drive of man to think and act is greatly influenced and guided by what he wants to achieve, based on what he sees he needs to work or focus on.

Adler’s concept on the establishment of personality is goal-oriented, suggesting that the goals and objectives that a man wants to achieve determines the way of thinking and actions that he would have to take in order to accomplish it, shaping his personality throughout the process. (Stein & Edwards, N. D. ) Another theory presented by Adler regarding the formation of personality looks into the importance of birth order which he postulates, influences how individuals think and behave.

(“Alfred Adler,” 2008) Jung and Jungian Psychology Carl Jung is popularly known as the father of analytical psychology which concerns cognitive processes that shapes the way of thinking and behavior of man. He was born in Kesswil, Switzerland on the 26th of July 1875. His childhood education was highly influenced by religious concepts and principles as he was highly interested in reading mythological tales from both the East and the West. He was also taught by his father who was pastor.

Most of his relatives, whom he learned numerous teachings from, were also pastors or theologians. When he was a child, he claimed to have experienced something of the paranormal, wherein he sensed a complete difference in his feelings of himself while he was walking home from school. He felt like while he was walking, he suddenly became himself again, after feeling lost for a time being. He was engrossed with the paranormal, even establishing research studies to explore the field on a deeper level.

However, he also focused on learning the sciences along with religion and philosophy. (“Carl Jung,” 2008) The Jungian theory of personality strays away from Freud’s emphasis of personality being fuelled by sexual desires or drives. Jung explored how personality is shaped through the subconscious mind, or what he called the soul. Since Jung was a believer of the spiritual or paranormal dimensions, he believed that personality was shaped from an individual’s spiritual beliefs and faculties.

He also suggested that mental illnesses originate from an unbalanced spirituality. His study of various eastern and western religions has led him to believe how individuals might obtain a sense of self, as well as a healthy being, by being in touch with spirituality and the unconscious. Jung’s concentration of unlocking the unconscious, which greatly defines how individuals should be able to conquer their daily stressors which are barriers to establishing their spirituality, was influenced by Freud’s work on psychoanalysis.

Jung also applied the analysis of dreams in his works which he called depth psychology. (“Carl Jung,” N. D. ) A Comparison of the Three Theories The similarity between the three psychological theories of personality, aside from their being ideologies on how personalities are formed, lie on the fact that they all focus on the inner being or inner self of an individual – from Freud’s arguments of sexual needs and drives as well as the subconscious, to Adler’s human nature of goal-orientation and success, and Jung’s belief in spirituality and the unconscious.

These three theories suggest that one’s personality is shaped from human nature or innate characteristics and features which influence how individuals will think and behave in various situations or circumstances. For instance, the desire to fulfill one’s sexual needs, the desire to succeed based on one’s insufficiencies or deficiencies, and the desire to obtain sense of self and peace of mind that is deep-seated within the unconscious, are all features or factors that occur within the self.

On the other hand, the primary difference between the three psychological theories of personality lie on the different mediums or dimensions by which the formulation of personality is described or defined. For instance, Freudian psychology focuses on sexual drives and impulses and the manifestations of the non-fulfillment of these desires in dreams. Sexual drives are based on spontaneous urges or needs that are not either set or planned by the human mind. In addition, Freud focused on the manifestation of desires in dreams, which suggests that the suppression of desire causes inner psychological stress.

Adlerian psychology, on the other hand, focuses on the cognition or rationalization of success. Goal-orientation, as a means to conquer failures and difficulties, which contributes to the formation of personality is consciously planned. Although it is part of human nature to want and need success, the process of accomplishing goals and objectives are based on conscious thinking and behavior. Although Jungian psychology is slightly similar to Freud, since it focuses on the unconscious, it differs in such a way that it is not influenced be sexual drives or impulses, but by spirituality.

Nourishing one’s spirituality is again a conscious choice, and not an urge or an impulse. In Jung’s theory, the inclination of a man to perfect his spiritual faculties contributes to his attainment of sense of self and inner peace which is reflected in his personality. Conclusion Reviewing the three psychological theories of personality introduced by Freud, Adler, and Jung, reaffirms the need to learn and understand psychology and how it explicates how personality is formed.

Although a variety of theories might exist to explain the formation of personality, like Freud’s sexual approach, Adler’s goal-orientation approach, and Jung’s spiritual approach, the understanding, interpretation, application, and most especially the synthesis of these theories are critical in simplifying the human mind, establishing patterns and solidifying theories, in order to determine psychological problems that pose potential risks and threats to society, in order to resolve them.

Moreover, these theories does not only provide a picture of how personalities are formed but also provides insights on how the external environment and the inner self is to be managed and influenced in order to result to healthy and desirable personalities. References “Alfred Adler. ” (2008). Retrieved January 16, 2009, from Soylent Communications. Website: http://www. nndb. com/people/256/000097962/ “Carl Jung. ” (2008). Retrieved January 16, 2009, from Soylent Communications. Website: http://www. nndb. com/people/910/000031817/ “Carl Jung. ” (N. D. ) Retrieved January 16, 2009, from Crystalinks.

Website: http://www. crystalinks. com/jung. html Magnavita, J. J. (2001). Theories of Personality. Somerset, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. “Sigmund Freud. ” (2008). Retrieved January 16, 2009, from Soylent Communications. Website: http://www. nndb. com/people/736/000029649 Stein, H. T. & Edwards, M. E. (N. D. ) Classical Adlerian Theory & Practice. Retrieved January 16, 2009, from The Adler Institute. Website: http://ourworld. compuserve. com/homepages/HStein/theoprac. htm Wilson, K. (2009). Introduction to Sigmund Freud’s Theory on Dreams. Retrieved January 16, 2009, from Insomnium. Website: http://www. insomnium. co. uk/text/freud. html

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