An Introduction to Freuds Personality Theory

Sigmund Freud spent much of his life in developing a model that explains how the human psyche operates and how an individual’s personality is molded and shaped throughout his life.

Freud likened an individual’s personality to an iceberg. The distinguished psychologist pointed out that an individual’s personality is below his awareness, just like an iceberg whose larger chunk is submerged into water.

Moreover, Freud developed a psychic apparatus that contains three parts; the Id, ego and super ego. Hence, Freud’s psychic apparatus explains the process of personality development. Thus, the following is a detailed analysis of each of the three structures in Freud’s psychic and personality theory.

The Id

According to Freud, the Id compromises the basic drives and instincts of man. The Id is also in line with the Freudian concept of pleasure principle. Basically, the pleasure principle suggests that people always seek pleasure while at the same time pushing efforts to avoid pain and suffering.

More so, the Id holds the same idea with that of the pleasure principle. The Id psyche suggests that people are naturally motivated to satisfy their physiological and biological needs. Freud described the Id as the most primitive part of an individual’s personality. Similarly, he also cited that a newborn baby is driven purely by his Id.

The ego

Based on Freud’s psyche and personality theory, an individual’s ego is influenced by his own past experiences. The ego is a much more educated structure compared to the Id mainly because it is molded through a person’s experience.

Freud described the ego as a more mature approach compared to the Id. People who use their ego start to think on a long-term basis. They start to delay gratification in lieu of a more productive and better result.

Likewise, the ego acts based on the Freudian concept of the reality principle which is more attached with the idea of satisfying the needs of the Id on a long-term basis.

The super ego

The super ego is the most mature and educated structure in Freud’s psyche and personality theory. Needless to say, it can be closely compared to the self-actualization level in Alfred Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  

Super ego is basically a combination of ego and the higher concept of conscience. The super ego is normally observed in role models such as teachers, parents and people of higher, reputable positions. Furthermore, the super is the direct opposite of the Id.

Super ego strives to be in prefect harmony with the society and its ideals.