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Freud’s Theory as to Human Development Research Paper

Brief review of Freudian ideas

Sigmund Freud is usually credited with the invention of psychoanalysis. This approach is based on several assumptions about the personality. In particular, one should mention the existence of subconsciousness or the part of the mind that is beyond people’s awareness (Berg, 2004, p. 5). It often reflects some traumatic or memorable events. Additionally, it incorporates some hidden desires as well as anxieties of a person (Berg, 2004).

Furthermore, the functioning of subconsciousness cannot be controlled through deliberation. One should pay close attention to this element to understand the underlying origins of various mental problems such as anxiety disorders or hysterias. Freud also focuses on the structure of the human psyche. This author distinguishes such components as id, ego, and super-ego (Brent & Lewis, 2013, p. 103). They represent such aspects as primitive desires, rationalization of behavior, and adherence to ethical principles (Brent & Lewis, 2013, p. 103).

In many cases, behavioral disorders can be attributed to the conflict between the desires of a person and some rational or moral restrictions. Additionally, Freud stresses the need to study dreams because they can give therapists insights into the inner world of an individual (Brent & Lewis, 2013). Sigmund Freud and his supporters relied on these assumptions to treat patients suffering from various disorders. So, it is necessary to explain how this framework can be applied to the development of individuals.

Freudian theory and human development

Freudian ideas can be used to describe the moral growth of children, adolescents, and adults. In the beginning, a person is driven primarily by the id or the part of the psyche that focuses on instinctive needs and desires. For instance, it is possible to mention physiological needs. Later, the ego of this individual is developed. This component of personality has to reconcile the instinctive desires with existing restrictions (Burns & Dobson, 2012, p. 314).

Finally, much attention should be paid to the role of the super-ego. It is required for identifying the moral standards and ideals that a person should always reach. One should mention that the super-ego begins to play a more important role during adolescence and adulthood. It is possible to illustrate the functioning of these elements. For instance, the id can urge a person to satisfy his/her sexual desires at any cost. In turn, the ego can show that this conduct can lead to adverse consequences such as punishment. Finally, the superego will lay stress on the idea that such behaviors as sexual aggression and promiscuity are not admissible under any circumstances.

This structure of personality should be considered by parents and educators. In particular, they must not focus only on the use of rewards or punishments. This approach does not help a child internalize some ethical principles. Instead, parents should provide examples showing that moral behavior is inherently valuable (Burns & Dobson, 2012). It is one of the tasks that should be performed.

The experiences of children, teenagers, and adults

Additionally, the concepts introduced by Freud have been used to assist patients suffering from mental illnesses such as phobias. Very often, these diseases can be attributed to the traumas sustained during childhood. In many cases, a therapist can identify the origins of this disorder by examining the subconsciousness of a person. Moreover, the techniques developed by Freud have been used to help children.

For instance, the emotional problems encountered by a child can be explained by the failure to develop an attachment to his/her mother. Therefore, the supporters of Freudian ideas believe that breastfeeding is essential for the proper development of a person (Zepinic, 2012, p. 236). This technique has been useful for resolving the conflicts between parents and children. Thus, these examples indicate that the ideas expressed by Sigmund Freud have found practical applications.

Limitation of the model

It is necessary to remember that Freud’s theories have often been criticized. In particular, researchers cannot falsify the hypotheses advanced by this scholar (Burger, 2009, p. 320). For instance, one cannot design and carry out experiments that can prove or disprove Freudian views on personality and human psychology (Burger, 2009, p. 320). Furthermore, there have been many debates about the value of psychoanalysis as a form of therapy (Gulerce, 2012). Therefore, it does not meet the criteria established for scientific theories. Nevertheless, his work continues to affect the work of various scholars. In particular, one should consider those researchers who study the sexuality of individuals and possible deviations from the established norms.


Overall, the concepts introduced by Sigmund Freud are helpful for describing the psychological development of children, adolescents, and adults. Certainly, one should not overlook the methodological drawbacks of this theory. However, it has been applied to help people representing various age groups such as children, teenagers, and adults. The primary benefit of this approach is that it enables therapists to anticipate the long-term effects of emotional traumas. Moreover, it highlights the role of attachments that a person should form during childhood. However, it is vital to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of this model that is not supported by experimental findings. Moreover, one should know how this method can be supplemented by other forms of psychotherapy.

Reference List

Berg, H. (2004). Freud’s Theory and Its Use in Literary and Cultural Studies: An Introduction. New York, NY: Camden House.

Brent, E., & Lewis, S. (2013). Learn Sociology. New York, NY: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Burger, J. (2009). Human Memory Modeled with Standard Analog and Digital C ircuits: Inspiration for Man-made Computers. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Burns, R., & Dobson, C. (2012). Introductory Psychology. Boston, MA: Springer Science & Business Media.

Gulerce, A. (2012). Reconfiguring Psychoanalysis: Critical Juxtapositions of the Philosophical, the Sociohistorical and the Political. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Zepinic, V. (2012). The Self and Complex Trauma. New York, NY: Xlibris Corporation.

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IvyPanda. "Freud’s Theory as to Human Development." September 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/freuds-theory-as-to-human-development/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Freud’s Theory as to Human Development." September 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/freuds-theory-as-to-human-development/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Freud’s Theory as to Human Development'. 12 September.

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